Filipino militants threaten to behead hostage

March 25, 2009 05:51

A Philippine official says al-Qaeda-linked militants have threatened to behead one of three Red Cross hostages in one week unless government troops pull back from the guerrillas' southern jungle stronghold. The official says Abu Sayyaf commander Albader Parad made the threat when they spoke by cell phone Monday. The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media. Military spokesman Lt. Col. Ernesto Torres has rejected the demand. He said Wednesday the Abu Sayyaf reneged on an earlier pledge to free one of the hostages last week after troops complied with their initial demand to move back.

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