Perhaps the civil rights advocates will also have a word with those animals who execute innocent people without a legal hearing, and whose only excuse is hate.
BAGHDAD, Iraq ? A militant Iraqi group posted a message on the Internet on Saturday saying it had beheaded an American Marine who had been abducted from the area around the volatile city of Fallujah.
The message, which appeared on at least two Islamic Web sites, was written by Ansar al-Sunna and stated that the group had killed Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun, a Marine of Lebanese descent who has been missing since late June.
Douglas C. Pizac/AP
A man visits relatives of Marine Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun in West Jordan, Utah, Saturday.
? Updated profiles of Americans killed in Iraq
"We tell your leadership that we beheaded the marine of Lebanese origin, Hassoun, and you will see the film with your own eyes soon," the message said. Ansar al-Sunna, an offshoot of a radical group operating out of northern Iraq called Ansar al-Islam, did not immediately post a video, and there was no independent confirmation of its claim.
Groups involved in similar killings have posted announcements of the killings on the Internet or given video evidence to Arab television networks. So far, such claims have generally turned out to be true. Hassoun's beheading would be the third such killing in Iraq, following the decapitation of an American businessman in May and one of a South Korean interpreter in June.
On Tuesday, the Arab network Al-Jazeera showed video of what looked to be an American soldier being shot in the head. The network said captors had delivered the tape and said the soldier was Spc. Keith Matthew Maupin, who was kidnapped when a convoy was attacked near Abu Ghraib prison on April 9. Military officials have said they cannot confirm that the man killed in the tape was Maupin.
Hassoun's captivity became public on the night of June 27, when his captors released a videotape of the 24-year-old Marine blindfolded and with someone holding a large sword over his head. The group that released the video said its name was the 20th Revolution Regiment.
It is unclear whether the 20th Revolution Regiment is tied to Ansar al-Sunna. Many insurgent cells work together in the Fallujah area but remain independent of each other. Abductees are often handed over from one group to another.
Also on Saturday, the American military said a Marine had been killed in action west of Baghdad.
At a news conference that afternoon, a senior military official said American soldiers are prepared to help the Iraqi interim government enforce a state of emergency once it is declared, including policing streets during curfews, operating checkpoints and enforcing anti-looting laws.
The official said the military was examining what contribution troops can make, but also what "red lines" exist. Those are acts soldiers might not be able to help with because of rules of engagement or rules governing the use of force, the official said.
The interim government is expected to put into effect in the next several days what it calls a public or national safety act. That would allow it to execute emergency rules, like curfews, in parts of the country that it deems to be security risks. Civil rights advocates have raised concerns about whether civil liberties will be curtailed under such laws.
Prime Minister Iyad Allawi is trying to come up with new ways of undermining the insurgency, which is still raging against American and Iraqi forces despite the surprise transfer of formal sovereignty to Iraq last Monday.
Allawi said in an interview with George Stephanopoulos for the ABC News program "This Week" that he was considering granting amnesty to Iraqis who had been fighting American soldiers before the transfer of formal sovereignty, as long as such Iraqis put down their weapons. That included the rebel cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who has led a nearly three-month rebellion against American forces, Allawi said.
Broad amnesty for Iraqis could help separate Iraqi insurgents from foreign fighters, who are thought to be hard-line jihadists and would presumably carry on the war against American soldiers and their Iraqi allies under any circumstances.
Attacks have flared up across the country in the last week, but there have been no car bombs of the kind that have marked the most violent days of this war.
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