Iraqi insurgents killed and mutilated a Christian construction worker whom they had kidnapped over the weekend and demanded $100,000 in ransom for, police and medical officials said on Monday.
Ashur Issa Yaqub, a 29-year-old Chaldean Christian, had been snatched on Saturday in the oil-rich ethnically-mixed northern city of Kirkuk, and is survived by his wife and three children.
"A police patrol found the body of the young Christian man, his head was almost completely cut off," said Kirkuk provincial police chief Major General Jamal Taher Bakr, adding that he believed Al-Qaeda insurgents were behind the gruesome killing.
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Provincial health chief Sadiq Omar Rasul confirmed the details, and added that the body "carried traces of torture and the bites of dogs".
A local police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Yaqub had been found with his head "almost cut off fully, his legs and arms tied together, and his clothes covered in blood."
The kidnappers had demanded $100,000 for Yaqub's release. The average daily wage for a construction worker averages to around 25,000 Iraqi dinars ($21).
Kirkuk, the capital city of the eponymous oil-rich province, is at the centre of a tract of disputed territory claimed by central government authorities in Baghdad and Kurdish regional authorities in Arbil.