November 29, 2005

German Archaeologist Susanne Osthoff Taken Hostage in Iraq

Susanne_Osthoff_hostage_iraq_small.jpgThe Jawa Report has learned that the name of the German woman shown in a hostage video is Susanne Osthoff. Osthoff is an archaeologist working in Iraq and was abducted with her driver last Friday. Osthoff was presumably working on a dig at the ruins of Isin when she was abducted.

UPDATE: Chad at In the Bullpen e-mails me about a NY Times report that Osthoff had been targetted by Abu Musab al Zarqawi's al Qaeda in Iraq over the summer. If she has been abducted by al Qaeda then her only hope lies in a quick rescue and your prayers.

After news of Ms. Osthoff's kidnapping became known here, a German newspaper, the Neue Osnabrücker Zeiting, reported that Ms. Osthoff had been targeted by extremist groups close to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi during the summer, when she was living in Mosul in northern Iraq. At the time, the newspaper said, Ms. Osthoff was escorted by American soldiers to Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone. Since then, Ms. Osthoff has been negotiating both with the German Embassy in Baghdad and the local Kurdish-dominated government in the northern town of Arbil to build a German cultural center there, the newspaper said.
Osthoff was active in documenting archealogical sites looted in Iraq after the U.S. led invasion and was widely quoted in the media at the time.

More information about Susan Osthoff below and in the Susan Osthoff archives.

In a 2003 NY Times piece Osthoff says:

"In two weeks, they have ruined all the work that was done over 15 years," said Susanne Osthoff, an archaeologist who worked with a German team that excavated at Isin from the mid-1970's until 1989....

Ms. Osthoff, who returned to Iraq shortly before American forces overthrew the government of Mr. Hussein, was alerted by local villagers who were horrified by the destruction at Isin.

Protected by old friends, Ms. Osthoff waded into the mob of heavily-armed diggers four days ago and then escorted two journalists to the site again on Wednesday.

"They [the looters] are poor people, and they are desperate to make some money," she said today. "But they do not understand what they are doing."

According to ADNKI , Osthoff was abducted with her driver near Ninevah.


The kidnappers sent a video to the broadcaster's offices in Baghdad in which they showed the hostages and threatened to kill the woman if the German government does not suspend every form of cooperation with the Iraqi government.

The video shows a woman and a man blindfolded and on their knees. Nearby are three armed men with their faces covered. The woman has a chain around her neck, with her passport attached to it.

The German Foreign Ministry has confirmed that the archaeologist and her driver have been missing since Friday. "We are doing everything possible to guarantee the safety of the woman," a spokesman said. "We are in contact with all the offices of the government of Iraq to confirm what has happened."

So, archeology is considered "collaboration" by the salaafist jihadis these days?

Hat tip to Dread Pundit Bluto who has more.


By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 09:51 AM | Comments |