BAGHDAD, Iraq – A Shiite militant group posted a video on the Web Wednesday allegedly showing an Iraqi-American soldier who was kidnapped nearly four months ago while visiting his wife in downtown Baghdad.
The U.S. government has offered a $50,000 reward leading to the recovery of Iraqi-born American Army translator Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie, a 41-year-old reserve soldier from Ann Arbor, Mich., who was abducted by gunmen on Oct. 23.
Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, chief U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, said officials were aware of the video and were analyzing a copy of it to ascertain its authenticity.
A huge search operation turned up no solid leads to the fate of al-Taayie, who was visiting his Iraqi wife when he was handcuffed and taken away by gunmen during a visit to the woman's family.
Al-Taayie's uncle, Entifadh Qanbar, said at the time that he believed his nephew's abductors belong to a "well-organized" rogue cell from the Shiite Mahdi Army militia of cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
He said he had received through an intermediary a demand of $250,000 from the kidnappers. He had in turn demanded proof that his nephew was alive and well before entering negotiations.
The U.S. military said at the time that there was "an ongoing dialogue" to win al-Taayie's release but didn't say with whom or at what level.
Al-Taayie, whose name is also spelled Ahmed Kousay Altaie, was born in Iraq and moved to the United States as a teenager. He joined the Army Reserve in December 2004 and was deployed to Iraq in November 2005.