CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - A video posted Tuesday on an Islamic militant Web site appeared to show a group affiliated with al-Qaida beheading an American in Iraq, saying the death was revenge for the prisoner-abuse scandal.
The video showed five men wearing headscarves and black ski masks, standing over a bound man in an orange jumpsuit who identified himself as an American from Philadelphia.
After reading a statement, the men were seen pulling the man to his side and cutting off his head with a large knife. They then held the head out before the camera
CAIRO, Egypt - A video posted Tuesday on an Islamic militant Web site showed the beheading of an American civilian in Iraq (news - web sites), and said the execution was carried out by an al-Qaida affiliated group to avenge the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers.
The video showed five men wearing headscarves and black ski masks, standing over a bound man in an orange jumpsuit — similar to a prisoner's uniform — who identified himself as Nick Berg, a U.S. contractor whose body was found on a highway overpass in Baghdad on Saturday.
"My name is Nick Berg, my father's name is Michael, my mother's name is Susan," the man said on the video. "I have a brother and sister, David and Sarah. I live in ... Philadelphia."
After reading a statement, the men were seen pulling the man to his side and putting a large knife to his neck. A scream sounded as the men cut his head off, shouting "Allahu Akbar!" — "God is great." They then held the head out before the camera.
Berg was a small-business owner from the Philadelphia suburbs, his family said Tuesday.
Berg's family said they knew their son had been decapitated, but didn't know the details of the killing. When told of the video by an Associated Press reporter, Berg's father, Michael, and his two siblings hugged and cried.
"I knew he was decapitated before. That manner is preferable to a long and torturous death. But I didn't want it to become public," Michael Berg said.
The video tape included a statement by one of the executioners:
"For the mothers and wives of American soldiers, we tell you that we offered the U.S. administration to exchange this hostage with some of the detainees in Abu Ghraib and they refused."
"So we tell you that the dignity of the Muslim men and women in Abu Ghraib and others is not redeemed except by blood and souls. You will not receive anything from us but coffins after coffins ... slaughtered in this way."
(NOTE TO THE "THERE'S NO LINK" CROWD-poster)-[i]The video bore the title "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi shown slaughtering an American." It was unclear whether al-Zarqawi — a lieutenant of Osama bin Laden (news - web sites) — was shown in the video, or was claiming responsibility for ordering the execution.
The Web site on which the video was posted is known as a clearing house for al-Qaida and Islamic extremist groups' statements and tapes. [/i]
The family of Berg, 26, of West Chester, Pa., said they were informed by the U.S. State Department on Monday that Berg was found dead near a highway overpass in Baghdad.
Berg's mother, Suzanne Berg, said her son was in Iraq as an independent businessman to help rebuild communication antennas. He had been missing since April 9, she said.
"He had this idea that he could help rebuild the infrastructure," she said.