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Fate of Philippine Hostage In Iraq Still Unknown - 2004-07-12


The fate of a Philippine truck driver held hostage in Iraq is still unclear-- several hours after the passing of the deadline his captors fixed for his execution.

On Saturday, militants threatened to behead hostage Angelo de la Cruz unless the Philippines made clear by late Sunday it would pull its soldiers out of Iraq by July 20th. The deadline expired at 11 P.M., Baghdad time (1900 Universal Time).

But in Manila, the Philippine foreign secretary said (Sunday) the humanitarian contingent of about 50 soldiers will stay in Iraq until the planned August 20th withdrawal.

Meanwhile, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Pasi said he has information that two Bulgarian nationals, held captive in Iraq following their abduction last week, are still alive despite the expiration of a deadline for their execution.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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