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ARAB TV REPORT

Tape aired of apparent hostage

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Dubai-based Al Arabiya television yesterday aired what it said was a videotape showing an American engineer working for the Pentagon held hostage in Iraq.

The network said it had received the tape from a group calling itself the Islamic Rage Squadrons that said it had kidnapped the man May 3. He was shown blindfolded with a checked Arab scarf and wearing a jacket.

''My name is Aban Elias from Denver, Colorado," an Arabiya transcript quoted the man as saying. ''I am a civil engineer working in Baghdad . . . and we are working with the Pentagon. . . . I was kidnapped, and I call upon Muslim organizations to interfere to release me."

The network said a copy of the man's US passport showed he was born in Iraq. Arabiya said the kidnappers had made no demands.

When Elias's mother heard the news in Denver, she broke down in tears and pleaded with his captors to release her son. ''Please free up my son. He has no relation with anybody. He only went to work in Baghdad," Thamara Mahmood al-Saloum said.

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