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Four arrested over Berg beheading

PTI | ByAFP, Baghdad
May 19, 2004 06:48 PM IST

Four people have been arrested over the beheading of American Nicholas Berg, whose killing was shown earlier this month in a video on an Al-Qaeda-linked website.

Four people have been arrested over the beheading of US businessman Nicholas Berg, whose killing was shown earlier this month in a video on an Al-Qaeda-linked website, a senior Iraqi source said on Tuesday.

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Asked if more than one person had been arrested in connection with the killing, the source said: "Yes, four people."

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Berg's beheading was shown on a grainy video posted on the Islamic website linked to Osama bin Laden's terror network, days after his body was found in Baghdad on May 8.

"We have made good progress," the source added, referring to the investigation, but declined to give any details on the identity of the four people held in detention.

But it was understood that none of the four included Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, who US authorities believe carried out the killing of the 26-year-old who was in Iraq to drum up business for his small telecommunications company.

The tape of Berg's killing was entitled "Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi slaughtering an American", referring to the Jordanian militant who is linked to Al-Qaeda and wanted over a string of attacks in Iraq.

The video showed Berg's decapitation by one of five masked men. Iraqi sources would not say whether any of the four suspects in custody were among them, or whether the detainees were linked to the case in another way.

US Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, the coalition's deputy director of military operations, told a Baghdad news conference that he had not been informed any arrests were made Tuesday.

"We have no information from the coalition that any arrests were made today," he told reporters.

Berg's captors said his killing was revenge for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at the hands of US troops, which shocked the world and undermined Washington's claim to be the liberators of Iraq.

The slain Jewish American was buried Friday in a private ceremony near his Pennsylvania home. His family have blamed his death on US President George W. Bush's administration.

US Attorney General John Ashcroft has vowed to keep up the hunt for the killers who made the video.

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