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British Iraq hostages thought still alive

June 22, 2008 at 9:23 AM

BAGHDAD, June 22 (UPI) -- A senior Iraqi official says five British hostages -- kidnapped by radical Shiites in Iraq more than a year ago -- may still be alive.

The five were abducted in May 2007 by a group calling itself the Islamic Shiite Resistance, which has released two videos of the hostages, including British information systems specialist Peter Moore, the BBC reported Sunday.

The senior Iraqi security official, Mowaffak al-Rubai'e, said he's confident Moore and the four other unidentified Britons have not been killed.

"We have a very good, strong intelligence telling us they are alive and we roughly know the area where they are," Rubai'e said. "But we don't want to be aggressive in our approach, not to risk their lives."

His comments came after a visit to Baghdad by the Rev. Michael Lewis, an Anglican bishop, who pleaded with the men's captors to release them. While in Iraq, Lewis met religious and political figures including Rabai'e and Ayatollah Hussain Sadr, a cousin of the radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr, the BBC said.

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