Video: 'Just do whatever they want'

msnbc.com news services
updated 2/11/2006 1:42:04 AM ET 2006-02-11T06:42:04

Kidnappers holding American journalist Jill Carroll say they will carry out a threat to kill her unless their demands are met by a Feb. 26 deadline, Kuwait’s Al Rai TV said on Friday, citing sources close to her captors.

In response to a question from Reuters, Al Rai chairman Jassem Boodai declined to specify the kidnappers’ demands. In previous videos, Carroll has said her captors are demanding that all female prisoners in Iraq be freed.

“The demands are specific. We have passed them on to the authorities,” Boodai told Reuters.

The private television station said sources reported Carroll was being held in a house in Baghdad along with other women.

According to NBC News, the State Department had not yet confirmed the reports of the new deadline set by Carroll’s kidnappers. An official, who spoke on condition on anonymity, reiterated that “the United States does not concede to terrorist demands,” and said authorities would continue to work with Iraqi officials to win her safe release.

In video of Carroll aired Thursday on the television station, she appealed to her supporters to do whatever it takes to win her release “as quickly as possible.”

Initially, abductors had threatened to kill Carroll by Jan. 20 if the female prisoners were not released.

In the video, Carroll said she was speaking on Feb. 2, nearly a month after she was abducted in Baghdad by armed men who killed her Iraqi translator.

‘Please do it fast,’ Carroll says
“I am here. I am fine,” the 28-year-old freelancer says in the video. “Please just do whatever they want, give them whatever they want as quickly as possible. There is a very short time. Please do it fast. That’s all.”

The 22-second video was delivered earlier Thursday to Al Rai TV’s office in Baghdad and was aired in its entirety, Hani al-Srougi, an editor at the station’s headquarters in Kuwait, told The Associated Press. It was accompanied by a letter written by Carroll.

The newscaster said on air Thursday that the station would hand the letter over to authorities.

Boodai told Reuters that the station did not plan to broadcast the contents of the letter. “Because of the sensitive matters mentioned in it, we handed it over to Kuwaiti authorities,” he said.

Tania Anderson, a spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait, said, “The embassy customarily works closely with our contacts with the Kuwaiti government and will seek their cooperation on this matter as well.”

Previous letter mentioned
In the tape, Carroll mentions the letter and suggests that her captors issued a letter in her handwriting previously. It was the first report of any letters from Carroll.

“I am with the mujahadeen (holy warriors). I sent you a letter written by my hand, but you wanted more evidence, so we are sending you this letter now to prove I am with the mujahadeen,” she said.

Carroll wore a conservative Islamic headscarf and appeared composed, speaking in a strong voice and sitting in front of what appeared to be a decorative wall-hanging with a large, stylized flower.

The video included audio, unlike two previous videos of Carroll.

Carroll, a reporter for The Christian Science Monitor, was abducted on Jan. 7 in Baghdad.

In Baghdad, U.S. Embassy spokesman Dennis Culkin said Thursday that American authorities routinely do not comment on such tapes, especially before they have been authenticated.

After Thursday’s broadcast, Carroll’s family issued a brief statement through The Christian Science Monitor, saying that “the family is hopeful and grateful to all those working on Jill’s behalf.”

The newspaper also issued a statement: “It is always difficult to see someone speaking under coercion and under these circumstances,” said Monitor editor Richard Bergenheim. “We are seeking more information about the letter that Jill refers to in the video. We remain in constant contact with Jill’s family and are still doing everything possible to obtain Jill’s release.”

Last video released Jan. 30
On Jan. 30, Al-Jazeera television broadcast a video showing Carroll weeping as she appealed for the release of female Iraqi prisoners.

The name of the group that has claimed responsibility for her abduction, the Revenge Brigades, appeared on the Jan. 30 video.

On Jan. 17, Al-Jazeera aired a video released by the Revenge Brigades showing Carroll — her head bare, and her long straight brown hair parted in the middle — and setting a Jan. 20 deadline for the release of all female prisoners in Iraq. The group threatened to execute her unless their demands were met.

A producer at Al-Jazeera said the station did not receive any letters with the videos it aired.

It was not known why Carroll’s captors sent the latest video to Kuwait’s Al Rai instead of Al-Jazeera, which observers believe has been a favorite of militants for their messages because of its scope. Both Al Rai and Al-Jazeera are satellite stations available across the region, but Al-Jazeera is far more widely watched.

Al-Srougi said Al Rai has received and aired videos from Iraqi insurgents in the past but they were propaganda videos showing attacks and other operations, not hostage videos.

When she was kidnapped, Carroll was on her way to a meeting with Adnan al-Dulaimi, a Sunni Arab leader she had intended to interview. Dulaimi has also urged her kidnappers to release her.

Iraqi women freed last month
Late last month, the U.S. military freed five Iraqi women detainees, but American officials insisted the release was not linked to the demand by Carroll’s abductors.

The U.S. military was believed be holding about six more. It was unclear how many women were held by Iraqi authorities.

Carroll is the 31st journalist kidnapped in Iraq since the start of the war in March 2003, according to Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontieres, a media advocacy group.

Some 250 foreigners have been taken captive since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, and at least 39 have been killed.

The Associated Press, Reuters, and NBC News contributed to this report.

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