A tearful middle-aged German woman and her adult son are seen pleading for their lives, in a new video posted on the Internet this week by Iraqi insurgents. The insurgents have threatened to execute the pair within 10 days if the German government does not meet their demands.
Krause and her son were kidnapped from her home in Baghdad on Feb. 6. Krause is married to an Iraqi physician and works for the Austrian embassy, and her son works for the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, according to German media reports.
The group, calling itself Siham al-Haq or Arrows of Righteousness Brigades, warned that the hostages would be killed in 10 days if Germany did not withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, extending a deadline set in an earlier video.
Very little is known about the group or its motivations. Laura Mansfield, an Arabic language specialist who monitors terrorist Web sites, says it's rare to see Iraqi insurgent groups make demands regarding other countries. "It's bizarre," said Mansfield. "Germany doesn't have troops in Iraq."
Germany does have nearly 3,000 troops with NATO-led forces in northern Afghanistan. German officials have condemned the kidnapping. "Naturally, given the situation, we are greatly concerned," said German Chancellor Angela Merkel last month. "We know what our commitment to the civilian rebuilding means to the Afghan government, and we should not be blackmailed by people who are terrorists."
Krause and her son are among hundreds of foreigners who have been kidnapped in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
In one recent kidnapping, five security contractors -- four Americans and one Austrian -- were abducted in southern Iraq in November by a group called the National Islamic Resistance in Iraq. The hostages were last seen in a video release in early January. Their fate remains unknown.