An Iraqi militant group kidnapped a U.S. security consultant and is threatening to kill him in 48 hours unless Washington frees all Iraqi prisoners, according to a video aired by Al-Jazeera television on Tuesday.
The grainy video showed a blond, Western-looking man sitting down with his hands tied behind his back and the logo of the Islamic Army in Iraq. It also showed an American passport and an Arabic identity card bearing the name Ronald Schulz.
Al-Jazeera said it could not verify the authenticity of the tape. It said the man worked as a security consultant for the Iraqi housing ministry.
Al-Jazeera said the militants also demanded the U.S. government pay compensation to Iraqis affected by military offensives led by U.S. troops against militants in the Sunni Muslim-dominated Anbar province, which includes Ramadi and Fallujah.
Bush: We don't pay ransom
President Bush said Tuesday that the United States will pay no ransom for the release of American citizens reported kidnapped by Iraqi militants.
“We of course don’t pay ransom for any hostages, what we will do of course is use our intelligence gathering to see if we can’t help locate them,” Bush told reporters.
“We will bring these people to justice, we will hunt them down along with our Iraqi friends and at the same time spread democracy,” he said.
Another American is among a group of four Christian peace activists seized by gunmen in Iraq.
The Islamic Army in Iraq is one of several insurgent groups battling foreign and Iraqi security forces. Al-Jazeera has in the past aired several videos from Iraqi militant groups.
Last year, a group with the same name killed Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni after Rome refused its demand to pull troops out of Iraq.