December 9, 2005 in Nation/World

U.S. hostage dead, insurgents claim

Maamoun Youssef Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Ed and Julie Schulz, siblings of U.S. security consultant Ronald Schulz, who was kidnapped by an Iraqi insurgent group Tuesday, plead for Ronald’s life Thursday during a news conference in Fargo, N.D.
(Full-size photo)

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CAIRO, Egypt – A statement signed by an Iraqi insurgent group said Thursday in an Internet posting that the group had killed a kidnapped U.S. security consultant. The White House said it could not confirm the death.

The statement, posted on an Islamic militant Web forum, did not name the hostage and provided no pictures, video or other evidence he had been killed. It said pictures of the slaying would be released later. The U.S. Embassy said it had no information to confirm the claim.

It was the first time in more than a year that a group from the Sunni-led insurgency announced the slaying of an American hostage. Another American was killed in August, and police blamed Shiite militants.

The Islamic Army in Iraq said it had killed “the American security consultant for the Housing Ministry,” after the United States failed to respond to its demand of the release of Iraqi prisoners.

A video issued by the group was broadcast Tuesday on Al-Jazeera showing the hostage – identified as Ronald Schulz, 40, an industrial electrician from Alaska – sitting with his hands tied behind his back.

The group Thursday blamed President Bush for failing to respond to its demands.

“The war criminal Bush continues his arrogance, giving no value to people’s lives unless they serve his criminal, aggressive ways. Since his reply (to the demands) was irresponsible, he bears the consequences of his stance,” the statement said.

On Tuesday, Bush said the United States will work for the return of captive Americans in Iraq but would not submit to terrorist tactics. “We, of course, don’t pay ransom for any hostages,” Bush said.

“What we will do, of course, is use our intelligence-gathering to see if we can’t help locate them,” Bush said.

Another insurgent group, the Swords of Righteousness, has set a Saturday deadline, threatening to kill four Christian humanitarian workers abducted two weeks ago, including an American, two Canadians and a Briton

Schulz graduated from Jamestown, N.D., High School in 1983, then joined the Marines. His brother, Ed, said he served in the Marine Corps from 1984 to 1991 and after his discharge, moved to the Anchorage, Alaska, suburb of Eagle River.

Ed Schulz said Thursday that he was advised by the State Department that his brother might still be alive.

“This is just our plea to get out there to let them know we want him home,” said Schulz’s sister, Julie. “This is our family, reaching out.”

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