An insurgent group in Iraq posted a video showing a kidnapped German woman and son weeping and pleading for help as the group gave Germany 10 more days to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan or else the hostages would be killed.
In the video, Hannelore Marianne Krause, and her adult son, Sinan, were sitting on the floor in front of a green backdrop. Krause, 61, wearing a headscarf and speaking in German, begged her two other children, who live in Germany, to “do anything” to save her and Sinan.
“You know that the demands are that the German army leave Afghanistan or else we will be killed, me and your brother,” she said, according to Arabic subtitles. “You could go to the newspapers or organize demonstrations. You could take any steps in any way at all to help us.”
“Please, please. Anything that comes to mind, any idea, I can’t think of any more. I’m so very afraid,” she said. “Only a few days are left to us.”
Several times, she broke down in tears, unable to speak and pressing her palms to her face. “If we can’t see each other again, I wish all the best for you and all good things,” she sobbed.
Sinan — sitting silently with his arms wrapped around his knees — also wept, burying his face in his hands.
The 5-minute video, posted late Monday on an Islamic militant Web forum, was signed by the insurgent group “Arrows of Righteousness,” which first claimed to have snatched the two in a video issued on March 10. In that video, the group threatened to kill them in 10 days unless German troops withdrew from Afghanistan. That deadline expired with no withdrawal of the troops.
Video announces time extension
In the latest video, a voiceover in Arabic by an unseen militant said the group was giving “the German government 10 more days to begin removing its forces from Afghanistan. Otherwise we will kill this criminal woman and her son.” The video was first reported by the Washington-based SITE Institute, which monitors extremist messages.
German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger said that ministry experts evaluated the video, but he declined to give any details of their assessment.
“It is bitter to have to watch two people being humiliated in front of a camera,” Jaeger told reporters in Berlin. “We are greatly concerned about the fate of the two hostages, and we are still working very hard so that the two can return to their families.”
German officials have not said what the mother and son were doing in Iraq, where they disappeared on Feb. 6.
In the video, Krause said she worked for the Austrian Embassy in Baghdad, and the voiceover by the militant said her son works for the Iraqi Foreign Ministry.
Germany, which opposed the war in Iraq, has some 3,000 soldiers serving in NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, largely in the relatively calm north. On Monday, Germany dispatched six Tornado fighter jets to Afghanistan, where they will fly reconnaissance missions.
Captive condemns coalition
“I call on the German people to help me in my difficult situation. Germany was safe before it joined the United States in this devilish coalition against so-called terrorism,” Krause said in German in the video.”
“What terrorism? Did the Afghans attack Berlin or destroy its industries? Has any Muslim detonated a bomb in Germany? Why do our politicians want us to be victims in a war that has nothing to do with us?” she said. “I will become the first victim if you do not meet the demands of these men.”
She said her two other children, a son and daughter, live in the German city of Dortmund. Last month, Krause’s husband, Mohamed al-Tornachi, and Sinan’s wife issued a videotaped statement, aired on German and Arab television, pleading with the insurgents to free the two.
Last May, two German engineers were freed in Iraq after 99 days in captivity there. Another German was released after three weeks in December 2005.