BAGHDAD — Two more British families are in mourning since receiving formal notification from an Iraqi government official that their kidnapped loved ones were killed by their abductors. The two men were part of a group of five Britons abducted in May 2007. The deaths of two other members of the group were confirmed in June.
Sami Askari, a member of the Iraqi parliament and close associate of Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, confirmed that, “Four of the five hostages are now dead. Two bodies have been recovered, and the government is currently negotiating with the kidnappers for the return of the fifth.”
Government officials have also confirmed that, although two of the bodies were handed over in June, the four victims were all killed at the same time.
Questions remain regarding the status of the last hostage, British computer engineer Peter Moore, whose family has been working for two years with British and Iraqi officials to secure his release. Iraqi security officials believe that Moore is still alive. He had been working on contract in Iraq in 2007 when he was kidnapped by Shiite militiamen, along with his guard, who was subsequently killed.
The families of the five hostages issued a statement expressing their collective sadness at the news of the deaths of Alan McMenamy and Alec MacLachlan.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that it was “very likely” that the two men were dead, but asked the abductors to clarify the status of the hostages. In a statement, Brown also said, “I and the entire government are committed to doing everything that we can to secure the release of Peter Moore, whom we still believe to be alive.”