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Report: British Hostage Killed in Iraq

October 8, 2004

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) _ British hostage Kenneth Bigley has been killed by his captors in Iraq, Abu Dhabi television reported Friday. The British Foreign Office said it could not confirm the report.

An editor at Abu Dhabi TV in the United Arab Emirates said the report was based on ``informed sources″ in Baghdad, but would not comment when asked if a videotape had been received.

Abu Dhabi TV said only that it was confident in its sources and would not say if it had a tape of the killing. There have been past claims about hostages being killed _ including Bigley _ that could not be substantiated.

No postings surfaced immediately on Islamic Web sites, where such claims often are posted, about Bigley being killed following the Abu Dhabi report Friday.

In London, a British Foreign Office spokesman said he had no information that would confirm the report.

Bigley, 62, was abducted Sept. 16 with two Americans from their residence in an upscale Baghdad neighborhood by the militant Tawhid and Jihad group, led by Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

The Americans, Eugene Armstrong and Jack Hensley, were decapitated. Graphic videos of their slayings were posted on the Internet, along with videotapes of Bigley pleading with British Prime Minister Tony Blair to save him.

Last month, an Internet posting claimed that the al-Qaida-linked group had killed Bigley. Britain’s Foreign Office described the Web site where the claim appeared as ``discredited.″

That Web site has often carried messages from Zarqawi’s followers, including gruesome video of Hensley and Armstrong being killed.

But it is not as prominent as other sites airing similar content, and some of its earlier claims were picked up from elsewhere. It also carried messages that appeared not to be true, including that two Italian aid workers kidnapped Sept. 7 were killed.

Those aid workers _ two women _ were later released.

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