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19 October 2004

The price for helping Iraq...

Charity worker kidnapped in Iraq

The humanitarian aid group Care International today announced that the British-born head of its Iraqi operation had been kidnapped in Baghdad. Al-Jazeera, the Arabic language news channel, later broadcast a video of Margaret Hassan - an Iraqi national - who was abducted this morning. Ms Hassan had been working for Care in Iraq for more than a decade. The Reuters news agency said the video showed her sitting in a room, looking anxious. No audio could be heard. The station showed close-ups of her identification cards, and said the video had been accompanied by a claim of responsibility from an unnamed Iraqi group.

Earlier, a spokesman for Care International confirmed that Ms Hassan, who was employed by Care Australia, had been kidnapped at 7.30am local time (0930 BST) today. Although born in the UK, she has lived in Iraq for 30 years. Spokesman Robert Glasser told Sky News that, as far as the charity knew, Ms Hassan was unharmed. Officials were being careful not to reveal too many details, fearing that could jeopardise Ms Hassan's chances of being released.

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Is this the price that humanitarian aid organisations are going to keep on paying for helping Iraq?

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