A Shiite militant group has released a video of an Iraqi-American soldier who was kidnapped nearly four months ago while visiting his wife in downtown Baghdad, an American television network reported Wednesday.
The U.S. government has offered a $50,000 reward leading to the recovery of Iraqi-born U.S. Army translator Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie, a 41-year-old reserve soldier from Ann Arbor, Mich., who was abducted by gunmen on Oct. 23.
The video was broadcast by CNN, and it was unclear when it was made. Al-Taayie's uncle identified him from the video, the network said. The Associated Press could not immediately find the video in a search of militant Web sites.
“Proof of life was a condition for continuing dialogue” with the kidnappers, his uncle Entifadh al-Taie told CNN from Washington.
“There is no date on this. We don’t know if he is in good shape now.”
The reward was offered after a massive search operation turned up no solid leads to the fate of al-Taayie, who was visiting his Iraqi wife when he was handcuffed and taken away by gunmen during a visit to the woman's family.
Al-Taayie's uncle said after the abduction that he had received through an intermediary a demand of $250,000 from the kidnappers. He had in turn demanded that he be shown proof that his nephew was alive and well before entering negotiations.
The U.S. military had said at the time that there was "an ongoing dialogue" to win al-Taayie's release, but didn't say with whom or at what level.
Al-Taayie, whose name is also spelled Ahmed Kousay Altaie, was born in Iraq and moved to the United States as a teenager. He joined the Army Reserve in December 2004 and was deployed to Iraq in November 2005 as a linguist.
Al-Taayie's uncle had said at the time that he believed his nephew's abductors belonged to a "well-organized" rogue cell from the Shiite Mahdi Army militia of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.