WASHINGTON – An American who was among four Christian activists kidnapped last year in Iraq has been killed, a State Department spokesman said Friday.
The FBI verified that a body found in Iraq on Friday was that of Tom Fox, 54, of Clear Brook, Va., spokesman Noel Clay said. He said he had no information on the other three hostages.
Clay said he did not know how Fox was killed but said additional forensics will be done in the United States.
Fox’s organization, Christian Peacemaker Teams, said Friday, “We mourn the loss of Tom Fox, who combined a lightness of spirit, a firm opposition to all oppression, and the recognition of God in everyone.”
“This guy was not after martyrdom by any means,” said Paul Slattery of McLean, Va., who was a member of Fox’s U.S.-based support team. “He actually believed in his heart that he would better them by his conviction and his beliefs and his skills, and I think (he) largely succeeded.”
Slattery said Fox worked on three major projects: helping families of incarcerated Iraqis, escorting shipments of medicine to clinics and hospitals in Fallujah, and helping form Islamic Peacemaker Teams.
Fox was the one American among four Christian Peacemaker activists kidnapped last year in Iraq.
On Tuesday, Al-Jazeera television aired footage of the three other activists purportedly appealing to their governments to secure their release. The hostages seen in the video dated Feb. 28 were Canadians James Loney, 41, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32; and Briton Norman Kember, 74.
The previously unknown Swords of Righteousness Brigades claimed responsibility for kidnapping the four workers, who disappeared Nov. 26.
Iraqi and Western security officials repeatedly warned the activists before their abduction that they were taking a grave risk by moving around Baghdad without bodyguards.
In the three years since the U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq, insurgents have kidnapped at least 250 foreigners and killed at least 40 of them.