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Iraq official says he thinks Carroll is alive

BAGHDAD -- American reporter Jill Carroll is being held by the Islamic Army in Iraq, the insurgent group that freed two French journalists in 2004 after four months in captivity, Iraq's Interior Minister said yesterday.

Interior Minister Bayan Jabr, who is in charge of Iraq's police, also said he believed the 28-year-old freelance reporter for The Christian Science Monitor is alive, although the deadline set by her captors for the United States to meet their demands expired Sunday.

Three videotapes provided by the kidnappers to Arab satellite television stations identified the group holding her as the previously unknown ''Revenge Brigades."

She was seized Jan. 7 in Baghdad and her translator was killed.

However, Jabr told Iraqi television that he believes Carroll, a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, is being held by the Islamic Army in Iraq, one of the country's principal insurgent groups.

Jabr said the same group was responsible for kidnapping his sister, who was seized about four days before Carroll and freed about two weeks later.

Jabr said he sent a message to his sister's kidnappers and asked for help in winning Carroll's freedom.

The Islamic Army in Iraq has been involved in kidnappings before.

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