Al-Qaida group decides to kill Russian diplomats

An al-Qaida-led insurgent group said in a Web statement Wednesday that it has decided to kill four kidnapped Russian Embassy workers after a deadline for meeting its demands passed. The statement did not say whether the decision has been carried out. The Mujahedeen Shura Council said Moscow had failed to meet its demands for a full withdrawal of troops from the war-torn region of Chechnya and that a 48-hour deadline set in a statement issued Monday had passed. "Therefore, the Islamic court of the Mujahedeen Shura Council decided to implement God's law sentencing them (the four Russians) to death," the group said in a statement on an Islamic militant Web site where it often posts its statements. The statement, whose authenticity could not be confirmed, did not state that the Russians were killed. The four embassy workers were abducted on June 3 in an attack on their car in which a fifth Russian was killed.