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Wednesday, September 22, 2004

BBC > US in shock over hostage deaths

America has woken up in shock to the news that both the US hostages being held by militants in Iraq have been killed by their captors.
Eugene Armstrong was killed on Monday. Jack Hensley was killed 24 hours later, it was finally confirmed on Wednesday.
People gathered to comfort Mr Hensley's family at their home in Marietta, Georgia.
Mr Hensley's relatives said they would pray for a third hostage held with the two Americans, Briton Ken Bigley.
What has happened will echo around the world for a day or two but will resonate in my family for generations
Ty Hensley, brother of victim
The militants have said they will kill Mr Bigley as well unless all Iraqi women prisoners are freed.
Washington has said it is holding two women, who are both in physical and legal US custody, but has no plans to release them.
Mr Hensley's brother, Ty, told US media on Wednesday morning that he believed the body found in Baghdad was Jack's. There has not been any official confirmation of his identity.
Ty Hensley described the impact on his family to the NBC network's Today programme.
"What has happened will echo around the world for a day or two but will resonate in my family for generations," he said.
The victim's wife Pati was "extraordinarily devastated", he added.
"She's a widow now," he said. "She is the mother of a 13-year-old daughter... What has fallen upon her is an extraordinary amount of weight."
Jack Hensley had been due to celebrate his 49th birthday on Wednesday.
His wife had tried hard to make some kind of contact with the kidnappers but to no avail.
She made several appearances in TV shows on Tuesday to plead with the hostage-takers.
In her last broadcast appeal, Mrs Hensley passed on a message from their daughter: "Daddy I miss you and I love you, please come home."
No question of deal
In an interview for CNN, she described her husband and his colleagues as "three wonderful men who were there simply to help the Iraqi people overcome the terrible damage that had been done to them during all of this war".
The BBC's Justin Webb in Washington says neither Jack Hensley's nor Eugene Armstrong's families asked the US government to accede to the kidnappers' demands to release the women prisoners.
There has been no suggestion from the White House that such a course was ever considered, our correspondent says.
On Wednesday, reports from the Iraqi Justice Ministry suggested that at least one of the women would be released but these were dismissed by US sources.
Story from BBC NEWS: /pr/fr/-/2/hi/middle _east/3680262.stm

Published: 2004/09/22 16:59:59 GMT


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