Militants kill captured US soldier

29 June 2004
An American soldier was allegedly shot dead by his captors on 29 June, almost three months after he was taken hostage. Arabic language broadcaster Al-Jazeera released video footage in which Keith Maupin, aged 20, was shown kneeling before his captors moments before it says he was shot in the back of the head.

Maupin was one of nine American soldiers and contractors caught in an ambush on 9 April. Five of those captured are known to have been killed, while Maupin was one of three whose fate had until now been unknown. One of the captives, Thomas Hamill, managed to escape from captivity in May.

The militants shown in the video claimed to be members of a group called the Sharp Sword Against the Enemies of God & His Prophet. In the recording they said Maupin's death was a response to US policies in Iraq.

The US army has yet to confirm Maupin's death. 'There is no confirmation at this time that the tape contains footage of Maupin or any other army soldier,' said a spokesman.

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