Philippines bans travel to Iraq

Alarmed by the capture of a Filipino worker, the Philippines has ordered a complete halt of all travel to Iraq.

Ministers met in emergency session, but made no decision on how to respond to the demand that Manila pull out its small force of about 50 humanitarian workers in what would be a symbolic blow to US efforts in the country.

Aljazeera earlier aired a video from a group claiming the capture of a Filipino working for a Saudi Arabian company.

The group said the captive's company works with US-led forces in Iraq. It said the man would be killed if the Philippines did not withdraw its forces from Iraq within 72 hours.

It claimed to have killed an Iraqi security guard escorting the Filipino.

The Philippines has about 50 military personnel in Iraq. The video showed three gunmen and a man dressed in an orange jumpsuit kneeling in front of them.

It also showed the identity card of a man named Hafidh H Amer, an employee of a security services company, purportedly killed by the group.

A banner behind the men identified the group as the Khalid bin Walid Corps of the Islamic Army in Iraq, named after an
early Islamic military leader who led a military campaign against Persians and Romans. 

Armed resistance groups in Iraq have seized dozens of foreigners in recent weeks. One group has beheaded two captives, an American and a South Korean .

Aljazeera spokesperson Jihad Ballout said the channel received the tape on Wednesday.

About 120 workers due to leave for Iraq on Thursday afternoon were stopped by immigration officials from boarding their flight after Arroyo issued the order to halt new deployments.

Many were angry, saying they had quit their jobs to go to Iraq. They refused to leave Manila airport.

About eight million Filipinos work overseas, many driven to leave because of a lack of jobs and low wages at home.


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