The White House has condemned the beheading of an American contractor in Iraq and vowed to bring to justice those responsible for the brutal killing.
A spokesman also said President Bush extends his deepest sympathy to the family of Nick Berg, who went to Iraq seeking work. He said the murder reflects the true nature of those opposed to democracy in the region.
A videotape showing the beheading was posted on an Islamic website Tuesday. Five masked men are seen standing behind a bound and seated Mr. Berg who is forced to identify himself and name members of his family. One of the captors reads a statement, saying the killing is in retaliation for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners in U.S. custody. The masked men then push their captive to the ground, and one cuts off his head and holds it up for the camera.
Mr. Berg's body was found near Baghdad on Saturday.
The website that posted the video says the killing was carried out by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who is believed to be part of the al-Qaida terrorist network. That claim has not been authenticated.
Mr. Berg's family in the United States said it was devastated. Family members said the 26-year-old had been in Iraq from December to February, and had made a second trip to Iraq in March.
Mr. Berg's family says he planned to return home in late March, but was detained without charge by Iraqi police in the northern city of Mosul until early April. The family said they last heard from Mr. Berg on April 9th.
Information for this story is provided by AP, Reuters