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Death for Iraqi who kidnapped, killed foreigners


An Iraqi court has sentenced a man to death for murder and for kidnapping French citizens and an Iranian consul, a statement released on Monday by the Higher Judicial Council said.

The Central Criminal Court sentenced the man identified only by his initials SKh for "belonging to the so-called Islamic Army and carrying out kidnapping and killing operations, including kidnapping an Iranian consul and two French citizens," the statement said.

The death sentence can be appealed.

Two French journalists were kidnapped in 2004 south of Baghdad by the Islamic Army in Iraq, but were later released.

Also in 2004, Iran's mission in Baghdad said Fereydun Jahani, its consul in Karbala, disappeared after the Islamic Army said it had "detained" him for "stirring sectarian strife" and "activities outside his diplomatic duties."

His fate is unknown.

The man was arrested in an army raid on Al-Yarmuk in west Baghdad, and admitted to being the Islamic Army's leader in the south of Baghdad province -- an area known as the Triangle of Death -- the statement said.

The man confessed to a judge to kidnapping two brothers as they travelled to the centre of Baghdad province and killing one of them, while the fate of the other is unknown, it said.

He also admitted to a number of operations including attacking Iraqi officials, kidnapping the French citizens, targeting and kidnapping the Iranian consul and taking part in the killing of an Iraqi army colonel, it said.

A court in 2010 sentenced two Iraqis who admitted to being members of the Islamic Army to life in jail the kidnap of the two French journalists and for taking part in the 2003 bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad.

The August 19 bombing killed UN special representative Sergio Vieira de Mello and 21 of his colleagues, and marked the start of an escalating wave of attacks blamed on Al-Qaeda and other insurgent groups.

The Islamic Army in Iraq is a Sunni Salafist group that includes former army officers in the regime of executed dictator Saddam Hussein. The group first appeared in 2004, a year after the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam.