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UK Hostage Bigley Killed in Iraq

British hostage Kenneth Bigley, who was kidnapped on Sept. 16 by militants in Iraq, has been murdered by the captors, Bigley's brother confirmed Friday.  

"We can confirm that the family has now received absolute proof that Ken Bigley was executed by his captors," Bigley's younger brother Phil Bigley said in a televised statement.


Earlier reports said Bigley was killed on Thursday in Latifiya, a town southwest of Baghdad.


Claiming that the family had experienced "three long weeks of waiting and three long weeks of agony", Phil said Bigley's Liverpool-based family believed the government did everything possible to win the release of the 62-year-old engineer.


However, Bigley's another brother Paul, who lives in the Netherlands, dealt with the hostage crisis differently, criticizing the way British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his government have handled the crisis.


Analysts said the killing of Bigley could fuel public and political anger against Blair over the US-led war against Iraq.


UK Queen sends condolence to family of slain hostage


British Queen Elizabeth II on Friday offered her condolences to the family of Kenneth Bigley.


According to Buckingham Palace, the Queen's private message was addressed to Bigley's 86-year-old mother Lily.


The Queen's message came after British Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed his outrage over the "barbaric" killing of the 62-year-old engineer, abducted on Sept. 16 in Baghdad by the Tawhid and Jihad group that had beheaded his two US colleagues captured at the same time.


"I feel utter revulsion at the people who did this. Not just at the barbaric nature of the killing, but the way, frankly, they played with the situation over the past few weeks, and I feel a strong sense, as I hope others do, that the actions of these people, whether in Iraq or elsewhere, should not prevail over people like Ken Bigley, who after all only wanted to make Iraq and the world a better place," Blair said in a brief televised statement.


Other British politicians also joined Blair in expressing their anger at the murder of Bigley.


British major opposition Conservative Party leader Michael Howard condemned the killing as an act of "grotesque barbarity" in a statement, stressing that "to those who committed this atrocious and despicable act, our message is: We shall never give in to blackmail from terrorists."


Charles Kennedy, leader of the second largest opposition Liberal Democratic Party, said that Bigley's murder was "simply horrific" and "just senseless and mindless brutality."


British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw on Friday offered condolences to Bigley's family over his death, criticizing the "barbaric" act of the militants.


"Now that this terrible news has been confirmed I want to offer the family and friends of Kenneth Bigley my deepest condolences...This is a barbaric murder following three weeks of terrible suffering for his family," Straw said in a short statement.


Straw earlier told reporters that the government had tried to stop hostage Bigley from being killed by exchanging messages with his captors through an intermediary who had come forward four days ago.


However, Straw said, the group had refused to drop demands for the release of woman captives though it was "aware" there were no woman in British custody in Iraq.


Iraqi PM reacts to Bigley's death 


Iraq's Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has condemned the beheading of British hostage Ken Bigley by his Islamist militant captors and vowed to bring them to justice.


Allawi says there is no relationship between the killing of Bigley and the operations of US and Iraqi forces in southeast to Baghdad.


(Xinhua News Agency, CRI.com October 9, 2004)

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