FREED. EIGHT CHINESE MEN, abducted by Islamic militants after traveling to Iraq from their native Fujian province in search of work; in Iraq. In a tape broadcast by Arabic news channel al-Jazeera, a group calling itself the Islamic Resistance Movement threatened to execute the hostages unless Beijing "clarified its position" on the Iraq war; a second communiqué demanded China agree to a state ban on travel to Iraq in exchange for "merciful" treatment of the hostages. After China advised its citizens to stay out of Iraq, the insurgents released the men, reportedly unharmed.


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