The Arabic television channel al-Jazeera says insurgents in Iraq have kidnapped two Turkish truck drivers, as mediators continue efforts to secure the release of seven men held captive by another group.
Al-Jazeera says the Turks were abducted by followers of terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. It says the militants threatened to behead the hostages unless their company stops doing business in Iraq. Hours earlier, a Turkish truck driver kidnapped two weeks ago near Mosul was reported freed.
Meanwhile, a tribal leader in Iraq (Sheikh Hisham al-Dulaimi) says he is cautiously optimistic that he will be able to negotiate the release of three Indians, three Kenyans and one Egyptian. The deadline set by their kidnappers to behead one of the hostages has passed with no news.
The negotiator says the seven hostages' Kuwaiti employer had agreed to comply with some of the kidnappers' demands, including pulling out of Iraq.
Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.