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Polish hostage in Iraq appeals for life
Updated: 2004-10-31 09:26

Iraqi-Polish hostage Teresa Borcz Khalifa appealed to her government on a video aired on Saturday, saying her life depended on the withdrawal of Polish forces from Iraq as demanded by her Iraqi captors.

Teresa Borcz-Khalifa, left, who holds dual Polish-Iraqi citizenship, is shown with her Iraqi husband in a 1978 wedding picture. Borcz-Khalifa was kidnapped in Iraq by a group calling itself the Abu Bakr al-Siddiq Fundamentalist Brigades and a video of her flanked by masked captors was broadcast Thursday, Oct. 28, 2004 on al-Jazeera television. Poland's president said Friday that his country is prepared to communicate with Borcz-Khalifa's abductors in Iraq as it tries to secure her release, but he insisted that Warsaw would not negotiate with terrorists. Borcz-Khalifa is a convert to Islam who has lived in Iraq for about 30 years. [AP Photo]

"I am asking for help ... from Poland and the Polish people and whoever can help me," Al Jazeera television quoted her as saying in the video which showed her sitting under the black banner the militant Islamic group, Abu Bakr al-Seddiq Salafist Brigades, that kidnapped her last week.

The Polish government has said it would not negotiate with "terrorists."

"I am asking anyone who can help to get out of this situation to act...because as a Polish citizen, in a way, I have some responsibility for the presence of Polish troops on Iraqi soil," she said in remarks translated into Arabic.

"Help save my life...My life is in great danger and the only thing that would save me is to accept the demands of the Iraqis to withdraw Polish forces from Iraq and then give any possible help toward freeing Iraqi women prisoners held in various American prisons," she said.

Borcz Khalifa is married to an Iraqi and also holds Iraqi nationality. She was kidnapped on Wednesday in Baghdad, where she has lived for many years.

Poland, seen by the United States as a key ally, has 2,500 soldiers in the south-central Iraq and commands a multinational division of 8,000 troops.

Public opinion in Poland heavily opposes the presence of Polish troops in Iraq. Warsaw plans to start scaling back its forces after Iraqi elections scheduled for January.

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