Evidence points to one ring for five abductions in Iraq
Carroll's captors say they kidnapped other Western women.
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Iraqi investigators, who asked not to be identified, say Zubayi kidnapped women because they made for good propaganda videos and were seen as an opportunity to raise money for Sunni Arab fighters.Skip to next paragraph
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European and Iraqi officials say that multimillion-dollar ransoms were paid in both the Sgrena and Aubenas cases. In Hassan's case, a $10 million ransom was sought by Abdel Salam al-Qubaisy, a senior leader of the Muslim Scholars Association, according to Italian police wiretaps, transcripts of which were leaked to Italy's La Repubblica newspaper in January. Monitor editors and the Carroll family say they paid no money to secure her release.
What role, if any, Zubayi played in Carroll's kidnapping isn't known. He has been on the run from the authorities for more than a year.
Jill Carroll is persuaded that her captors had close ties, if not direct involvement, with the kidnappers of the Christian Peacemakers Team.
"Since my captors viewed all mujahideen as part of the same worldwide movement... it is unclear how many of these kidnappings were carried out by the same individuals who took me, and how many were carried out by separate but allied groups," she says.
It seems likely that Ms. Carroll's captors and those holding the Christian Peacemakers, including American Tom Fox, were at least communicating with one another.
On or around Feb. 27, Carroll's captors made a video of her pleading for the release of a Jordanian prisoner. Later the same day, her chief captor, Abu Nour, told her: "We killed an American today." He said the hostage was killed because the US government failed to meet a 48-hour deadline to release Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, the blind Egyptian cleric serving a life sentence in the US for organizing the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.
At the time, Carroll had no idea who the victim might be.
But about two weeks later, she saw a television news report saying that the body of Mr. Fox, the American member of the Christian Peacemakers Team, was found in Baghdad. The Iraqi police say he was killed within 24 hours of his body being recovered on March 9.
While the discrepancy in the date of Fox's murder is odd, it may just point to the fact that Abu Nour had infrequent contact with the cell that held the Christian Peacemakers and didn't know they'd changed their plans.
In a phone interview from his home in Canada, CPT member James Loney says that he and the other CPT hostages were told on March 7 that their captors were demanding the release of a blind man in a US prison, and mentioned Omar Abdul-Rahman.
The demand for Mr. Rahman's release in exchange for Fox's life has never been made public before. Unless they were in close communication, how did Carroll's captors know what Mr. Loney's captors were demanding?
Carroll's captors often talked openly around her in Arabic. While her Arabic is not fluent, she understood much of what was said. After about a month in captivity, her guards complained to their leader about having to guard her. He replied: "She isn't the only one."
After that, she heard them mention on multiple occasions something about the Canadians and British. At the time, Carroll didn't know the nationalities (two Canadians, a Brit, and an American) of the Christian Peacemakers Team. At one point, Abu Rasha told her: "We have another Jill."
But Carroll didn't know what that meant. Another woman? Another journalist? Another American?
Later one of her guards claimed the mujahideen had released the Christian Peacemaker Team. "Three days ago they paid [a ransom] to let them go," he told Carroll, quoting his boss and countering a TV news report he was watching that said the three men had been rescued by coalition forces on March 23.