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N.D. man says Mideast hostage is his brother

A man shown as a hostage on an insurgent video aired on Middle Eastern television is "my brother, " a North Dakota man said Wednesday.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A man shown as a hostage on an insurgent video aired on Middle Eastern television is "my brother, there's no question about that," a North Dakota man said Wednesday.

The man shown in the video is Ronald Schulz, 40, an industrial electrician who has worked in Iraq, said Ed Schulz of Arvilla.

He said he last spoke with his brother on Nov. 4, when Ronald Schulz was at his home in Anchorage, Alaska.

The video, broadcast Tuesday by the Arab television network Al-Jazeera, claimed insurgents had kidnapped a U.S. security consultant, and displayed a blond, Western-looking man sitting with his hands tied behind his back.

The video bore the logo of the insurgent Islamic Army.

The video also showed a U.S. passport and an Arabic identification card with the name Ronald Schulz, but the spelling of the name was uncertain because it was written in Arabic.

‘God only knows’
Ed Schulz said both he and his mother, Gladys, identified his brother on the video.

"She's convinced it's him and the FBI is running like it's him," Ed Schulz told The Associated Press.

Ed Schulz, 42, said the FBI had asked family members to give reporters only limited information.

"I don't want to get my brother killed," Ed Schulz said. "But the fact that he has blond hair and blue eyes might get him killed. God only knows with these people."

He said his brother's last known location was Amman, Jordan.

"The FBI is trying to retrace his steps," Schulz said. "They're not even sure what country he's in."

The authenticity of the video had not been confirmed.

‘He disappeared for three weeks’
Liz Colton, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, said U.S. authorities were investigating the Al-Jazeera report.

Ed Schulz said his brother worked for several companies, and that it was not unusual that he had not heard from him for several weeks.

"He built a feed mill in China once and he disappeared for three weeks," Schulz said.

He said his brother had visited relatives in North Dakota during the summer.

Ronald Schulz graduated from high school in Jamestown, and served in the Marine Corps from 1984 to 1991, Ed Schulz said.

Jamestown Mayor Charlie Kourajian said if the person shown in the video is confirmed as the Ronald Schulz who grew up on a farm near Jamestown, it would be "quite devastating for us because we aren't a big town."

About 15,500 people live in Jamestown.