BAGHDAD (AP) – A Shiite militant group has released a video of a kidnapped Iraqi-American soldier, the first time he has been seen alive since he was abducted four months ago in Baghdad, his uncle said yesterday.
U.S. Army translator Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie, a 41-year-old reserve soldier who was born in Iraq and lives in Ann Arbor, was seized by gunmen on Oct. 23 while visiting his Iraqi wife’s family in the Karadah neighborhood of central Baghdad.
A previously unknown Shiite militant group called Ahl al-Bayt Brigades posted a 10-second video on the Internet on Tuesday showing al-Taayie in front of a greenish flat surface with short dark cropped hair, unshaven and wearing a wide dark-green collared shirt, said SITE, a U.S. group that monitors extremist messages.
Al-Taayie’s eyes were downcast and his lips were moving as if he was reading aloud, SITE said yesterday. Although the video carried no sound, SITE said that the militants also issued a document, saying: “We warn the American people of the result of sending their soldiers to Iraq so they don’t face the same fate.”
The video was also broadcast earlier yesterday by CNN.
It was unclear when the video was made but Entifadh Qanbar, al-Taayie’s uncle, said he had identified his nephew in it. The Associated Press could not immediately find the video in a search of militant Web sites.
Qanbar, who spoke to The Associated Press by telephone from Washington, said the video came in response to his insistence the kidnappers show him proof his nephew was still alive.
Qanbar said he and the kidnappers had intermittently exchanged e-mails for about a month until they cut off contact at the end of January. He said none of the e-mails repeated a demand made in the early days of the kidnapping for a $250,000 ransom.
“But I don’t want to go into the details of what they are demanding now,” Qanbar said. “They are very vague and they never say anything that’s clear. They are professional and seem to know what they are doing.”
Al-Taayie was declared “duty status whereabouts unknown” by the Army after gunmen handcuffed and took him away, together with a cousin, during the family visit in Baghdad. The cousin was later released.