BAGHDAD, Iraq – Masked gunmen displayed a Turkish and an Egyptian captive in videotape obtained Wednesday, saying the two truck drivers had been kidnapped for working with the U.S.-led occupation.
The video, obtained by Associated Press Television News, showed the two purported hostages seated on the floor in front of five masked gunmen. Both men, who appeared unharmed, displayed their passports and ate food from plates on a carpet.
The tape was obtained in Ramadi (search), 100 miles west of the capital Baghdad. Ramadi is part of the so-called Sunni Triangle, a center of Sunni Muslim resistance to the American occupation.
The foreigners identified themselves as Bulent Yanik, a Turk born in 1969, and Victor Tawfiq Jerges, an Egyptian born in 1959. They spoke in Turkish and Arabic.
One of the gunmen read a statement saying "our Jihad brothers" had captured the two drivers "while they were providing the American army with supplies and goods."
The camera zoomed in on a document reading "ESS company vehicle list." ESS, formerly known as Eurest Support Services (search), is a food supplier to the U.S. military in Iraq and a division of Britain-based Compass Group (search).
He did not say where or when they were seized. A similar tape was broadcast by Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya, two Arabic language satellite television stations.
"We are going to treat them in accordance with Islamic law, and we warn everyone who is assisting the Americans that they will meet the same fate," the gunman added. "Also, we hold their governments responsible for their actions."
Turkey's Embassy in Baghdad was trying to secure the release of the Turkish hostage, said Abdullah Gul, the country's foreign minister. He did not elaborate.
On Tuesday, two Polish contractors and five Kurdish employees were abducted near an American compound close to Baghdad. However, one of the Poles managed to escape, a spokesman for their company said. They were taken from their office around noon by people who drove up in vehicles, a spokesman for their Jedynka construction company told Polish television.
A wave of kidnappings of foreigners was sparked by the intense violence that began in April. Up to 40 people from several nations have been abducted, though most were later freed.