Militants in Iraq have threatened to kill two Bulgarian hostages unless the U.S. military frees all Iraqi prisoners it is holding.
The threat came (Thursday) in a videotape broadcast by the al-Jazeera television network, which said the militants were affiliated with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who is said to be the leader of a group of insurgents in Iraq accused of a notorious series of terrorist acts in recent weeks, including the beheading of two foreign civilians ( -- one American and one South Korean). The United States is offering a $25 million reward for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who has been linked to the al-Qaida terrorist network.
A report from Sofia (by Associated Press) says the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry has identified the captives as truck drivers working in Iraq for a private company.
Bulgaria has contributed several hundred troops to the U.S.-led multinational force in Iraq.
Informtion for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.