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French minister: Our hostages are alive

Sept. 17, 2004 at 6:25 AM

PARIS, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- French Defense Minister Michelle Eliot-Marie said Friday intelligence information suggests two French hostages in Iraq are alive and healthy.

"We have received information that allows us to believe that we have solid proof our hostages are alive, safe and in good health," Eliot-Marie said in an interview with the French daily Le Parisien.

She said she cannot give more information in view of the sensitivity of the case, but she added, "all concerned ministries, including the defense ministry are permanently mobilized."

Christian Chesnot and George Malbruno and their Syrian guide were kidnapped a month ago by suspected Muslim extremists calling themselves the "Islamic Army in Iraq."

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