The United States denounced as barbaric violence the beheading of a Norwegian tourist by Kashmiri separatists and demanded Monday the immediate unconditional release of four other hostages.
The State Department said U.S. authorities are “redoubling efforts with Indian authorities and others to obtain the safe release of the remaining hostages.”
The four are Donald Hutchings, 42, of Spokane; Britons Paul Wells, 23, of London, and Keith Mangan, 33, of Middlesbrough; and Dirk Hasert, 26, of Erfurt, Germany.
They were kidnapped in early July during a trekking vacation in the Himalayas.
“The United States government offers its deepest sympathy to the family of Norwegian citizen Hans Christian Ostrow,” department spokesman David Johnson told reporters.
“We call on Al-Faran to release the remaining hostages immediately and without condition.” he said.
In Spokane, friends of Hutchings and his wife, elementary school physical education teacher Jane Schelly, declined to comment while they anxiously awaited the deadline set by the rebels.