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Pope appeals for release of Iraq hostages

 Pope John Paul appealed to insurgents in Iraq who are now holding around 15 foreign nationals hostage, to have "feelings of humanity" and free their captives. Speaking in his weekly address at the Vatican yesterday, the Pope urged the kidnappers to allow their hostages to return to their families. He said: "I am particularly close in thought and prayer to the families of all those who fear for the fate of their loved ones, especially all those who have been taken hostage. I invite the kidnappers to have feelings of humanity." About 50 foreigners have been seized this month, although most of them have been freed. On Friday, Arab television broadcast a film of armed militants holding US soldier Keith Matthew Maupin, reported missing along with seven American civilians and another US soldier, after the convoy they were travelling in was attacked on 9 April. A Dane and an American businessman of Middle Eastern origin are also reported to have been seized at the end of last week. Source: VIS