Image: Kenneth Bigley
AP file
British hostage Ken Bigley, seen in Sept. 2004, was abducted in Baghdad two weeks before being beheaded.
msnbc.com news services
updated 6/8/2006 6:00:01 PM ET 2006-06-08T22:00:01

The brother of Ken Bigley, a British engineer beheaded by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's group, said Thursday that he expected the extremist will rot in hell.

"The man was an animal and he deserved what he got. And may he rot in hell," Paul Bigley told Channel Four television on Thursday.

Al-Zarqawi's followers captured Ken Bigley, held him for weeks and filmed his beheading in 2004. Bigley's death traumatized his native Liverpool and his body has not been recovered.

"He's gone. The world has rid themselves of a very bad person. So he thinks he's going to paradise? I'm convinced the man is in hell," Paul Bigley said.

In the United States, Cyndi Armstrong, a relative and spokeswoman for the family of Eugene Armstrong, a contractor also taken hostage and killed in 2004, would only state that “an evil man is dead, and what more can you say?”

Michael Berg, whose son Nick was beheaded in Iraq in 2004, had a different reaction to the news that al-Zarqawi had been killed in an air strike, saying he felt “no sense of relief, just sadness that another human being had to die.”

“As the poet John Donne said, any man’s death diminishes me. It doesn’t bring my son back, and this will just bring a new cycle of revenge killings,” Michael Berg said.

Al-Zarqawi’s organization took responsibility for the execution of Nick Berg. When an Islamist Web site showed a video of a man severing Berg’s head, the CIA said al-Zarqawi was probably the one wielding the knife.

The video was published with a caption saying: “Abu Musab al-Zarqawi slaughtering an American.”

Berg’s father not convinced
Michael Berg said he was not convinced that al-Zarqawi’s organization was responsible for his son’s killing. “I have been lied to by my own government,” he said.

Berg, a pacifist who is running for Delaware’s lone House seat on the Green Party ticket, said al-Zarqawi’s death is likely to foster anti-American resentment among al-Qaida members who feel they have nothing left to lose.

Berg said the blame for most deaths in Iraq should be placed on President Bush, who he said is “more of a terrorist than Zarqawi.”

“Zarqawi felt my son’s breath on his hand as held the knife against his throat. Zarqawi had to look in his eyes when he did it,” Berg added, pausing to collect himself. “George Bush sits there glassy-eyed in his office with pieces of paper and condemns people to death. That to me is a real terrorist.”

Asked what would give him satisfaction, Berg said: “The end of the war and getting rid of George Bush.”

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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