U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker confirmed yesterday that two of his staff members had been kidnapped and murdered. The two were an elderly couple, both Christian Iraqis. The man wasÂ kidnapped in May while coming out of his bank, and the kidnappers subsequently called his wife and demanded a ransom of $30,000. The woman raised the money on her own and attempted to deliver it to the kidnappers, but she herself was abducted in the process and both were murdered.
On May 30, a radical Islamic insurgent group, the Islamic State of Iraq, posted a message on the jihadi website Al Firdos, claiming responsibility for the murders and saying that they were â€œexecuting Godâ€™s judgment on two of the American Embassy employees.â€ They also warned that they would continue to kill â€œthe crusaders, their employees, and those who lick their shoes.â€