- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 28, 2004

BAGHDAD — Terrorists slaughtered 11 Iraqi soldiers, beheading one and shooting the others execution-style, and declared on an Islamic militant Web site yesterday that Iraqi fighters will avenge “the blood” of women and children killed in U.S. strikes on the guerrilla stronghold of Fallujah.

The wave of foreigner kidnappings claimed another victim — a Polish woman in her 60s who is married to an Iraqi. Her captors demanded that Poland withdraw its 2,400 soldiers and that the U.S.-led coalition free all Iraqi women held at Abu Ghraib prison.

The Ansar al-Sunnah Army took responsibility for killing the 11 Iraqi national guardsmen. A videotape of their deaths was shown on the group’s Web site yesterday along with a warning to all Iraqi police and soldiers to desert or face death.

The terrorists said earlier that the soldiers were abducted this week on the road between Baghdad and Hillah, 60 miles to the south.

After forcing each of the soldiers to state his name and unit, the militants forced one of them to the ground and cut off his head. The others were forced to kneel with their hands bound as a gunman fired shots into the back of their heads.

A voice on the videotape warned all Iraqi soldiers and police to “repent to God, abandon your weapons, go home and beware of supporting the apostate crusaders or their followers, the Iraqi government, or else you will only find death.”

“We will not forget the blood of our elderly, our women and our children that is shed daily in Fallujah, Samarra, Ramadi and elsewhere,” a statement on the Web site said.

The al-Sunnah movement has taken responsibility for a number of attacks and kidnappings, including the slaying of 12 Nepalese hostages in August.

Elsewhere, two more American soldiers were killed — one in a car bombing in Baghdad and the other in an ambush near Balad, 40 miles north of the capital. At least 1,109 U.S. service members have died since President Bush launched the Iraq war in March 2003.

In Tokyo, Japanese authorities said they had failed to enlist the help of a prominent Iraqi cleric in trying to free a 24-year-old Japanese hostage.

An al Qaeda affiliate led by Jordanian terror suspect Abu Musab Zarqawi threatened Tuesday to behead Shosei Koda in 48 hours unless Japan withdraws its troops from Iraq, a demand rejected by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

The video of the Polish hostage, aired on Al Jazeera television, showed a middle-aged woman with gray hair wearing a polka-dotted blouse sitting in front of two masked gunmen, one of whom was pointing a pistol at her head.

The woman was identified as Teresa Borcz-Kalifa by one of her former superiors at the Polish Embassy in Baghdad, where she worked in the 1990s. Leszek Adamiec told Poland’s private Radio Zet that Mrs. Borcz-Kalifa worked in the consular section until 1994.

Interior Ministry spokesman Col. Adnan Abdul-Rahman said the woman, a longtime resident with Iraqi citizenship, was thought to have been abducted Wednesday night from her home in Baghdad. In Warsaw, Foreign Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz said she was a Polish citizen who is married to an Iraqi.

She was the ninth foreign woman abducted in Iraq since a wave of kidnappings began last spring.

The Abu Bakr al-Siddiq Fundamentalist Brigades took responsibility for her abduction.

President Aleksander Kwasniewski said Poland will not surrender “to the dictate of terrorists” by meeting their demands. Poland commands about 6,000 troops from 15 nations, including about 2,400 from Poland, in the Babil, Karbala and Wasit provinces south of Baghdad.

All but two foreign female hostages have been released. In a statement issued yesterday in London, CARE International appealed for the release of Margaret Hassan, a British-Irish-Iraqi citizen who has directed the humanitarian organization’s operations in Iraq since 1991.

Meanwhile, the first wave of 75 British soldiers set up camp yesterday at their new base at an undisclosed location about 30 miles south of Baghdad, part of about 800 British troops who are moving closer to the capital to bolster U.S. forces. Soldiers of the Scottish Black Watch Regiment, redeployed from the southern city of Basra, were told they will be pulled out of Iraq in early December, the British news agency Press Association reported.

U.S. and Iraqi forces are gearing up for a possible assault on Fallujah and other terrorist strongholds west of Baghdad if community leaders do not hand over foreign fighters and extremists, including Zarqawi and his followers.

Also yesterday, U.S. aircraft bombed a suspected terrorist safe house in Fallujah, killing two persons, hospital officials said. The overnight strike in the northern part of the city targeted a “meeting site” used by suspected Zarqawi allies, the U.S. military said.

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