BAGHDAD, Iraq – Aid worker Margaret Hassan, who spent decades helping Iraqis before she was kidnapped in Baghdad last month, is believed to have been killed by her captors.

“Our hearts our broken,” Hassan’s family said in a statement issued Tuesday through the British government. “We have kept hoping for as long as we could, but now have to accept that Margaret has probably gone and at last her suffering has ended.”

Arabic television station al-Jazeera reported Tuesday that it had received a videotape showing a hooded man shooting a blindfolded woman in an orange jumpsuit, apparently Hassan, in the head with a pistol. A station spokesman said the footage wouldn’t be shown.

Also on Tuesday, U.S. and Iraqi forces battled insurgents who rose up last week in the northern city of Mosul after U.S. forces attacked Fallujah, a center of the Sunni Muslim insurgency west of Baghdad. A U.S. military spokeswoman said U.S. and Iraqi forces encountered little resistance Tuesday in Mosul and that the city of 1.5 million people was calm after nightfall.

Gunmen seized Hassan, the Irish-born director for CARE International in Iraq, on Oct. 19 as she was driving to work.

Her family in Britain said Hassan “was a friend of the Arab world” who began her charity work with Palestinians in the 1960s and worked in Iraq for 30 years. She converted to Islam, married an Iraqi and remained in the country to help the poor during the regime of Saddam Hussein and the U.S.-led invasion to oust him.

“Those who are guilty of this atrocious act, and those who support them, have no excuses,” her family said. “Nobody can justify this.”

Her captors demanded that British troops leave Iraq and released videotapes of her in tears pleading for her life.

If Hassan is the woman on the tape, she’d be the first foreign woman known to have been abducted and killed by militants in Iraq. She held both British and Iraqi citizenship.


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