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France Presses on with Efforts to Gain Release of two French Hostages in Iraq - 2004-09-02


French officials are pressing on with efforts to gain the release of two French journalists who are under a death threat from militants in Iraq demanding Paris rescind its ban on Muslim headscarves in public schools.

French Muslim leaders arrived in Jordan Wednesday, and are preparing to travel to Iraq to demand the release of the reporters. Several French officials are already in Iraq, trying to contact the kidnappers.

Meanwhile, the new French law banning Muslim headscarves in schools went into effect today (Thursday) -- the beginning of school year. There were no reports of any incidents involving the banned headscarves.

Wednesday, two separate militant groups in Iraq freed eight hostages -- three Kenyans, three Indians, one Egyptian and a Turk.

Information for this report is provided by AP and Reuters.

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