Egyptian envoy executed in Iraq

ISN SECURITY WATCH (08/07/05) - An al-Qaida-linked cell on Thursday purportedly claimed responsibility for the murder of Egypt’s envoy to Iraq, who had been kidnapped five days earlier in Baghdad.

Egypt on Friday officially confirmed the death of its envoy to Iraq, Ihab al-Sherif.

The militant group warned it would go after “'as many ambassadors as we can” in an effort to punish those countries that support the US-backed government in Iraq.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said it would temporarily close its mission in Iraq and has recalled all of its diplomatic staff.

Al-Sherif was kidnapped on Saturday by several armed men who were seen forcing him into the trunk of their car.

The al-Qaida-linked group, apparently led by Abu Musad al-Zarqawi, said in its published message that al-Sherif had been tried by an Islamic court and found guilty of being unfaithful to Islam.

“The ambassador of the infidels has confessed to information that showed that his regime is an infidel and which proved his ties to the Jews and the Crusaders,” the message read.

The group also released video footage on the internet, showing al-Sherif identifying himself as Egypt’s envoy in Iraq.

Al-Sherif is the first head of a diplomatic mission to be kidnapped in Iraq. Last month, Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari urged Arab nations to send ambassadors to Iraq.

In separate attacks on 5 July, Bahrain’s Iraq envoy was wounded in an unsuccessful kidnapping attempt, and the Pakistani ambassador was fired upon.

In response, Pakistan announced that its diplomatic staff would be withdrawn to Jordan until the security situation in Iraq improved.

Iraqi officials on Friday urged other countries to keep their diplomats in Baghdad.
This quite understandably was overshadowed by the sad news yesterday but it seems to demonstrate a remarkable resurgence of al-Zarqawi and his sympathisers despite coalition claims that his was a broken organisation. Could provoke an exodus of other diplomatic staff.


Book Reviewer
Apparently, he'd popped out to the shops sans escort to buy a paper. The Iraqi authorities have said that they can't guarantee the safety of diplomats who don't abide by the rules.

That's what will probably prompt an exodus by diplomats to Jordan.

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