Clock Ticks For Reporter In Iraq

al Jazeera
New images showing a female American journalist surrounded by armed and masked hostage-takers in Iraq were aired Thursday by an Arab satellite TV station.

Qatar-based Al-Jazeera aired about 20 seconds of silent footage showing 28-year-old Jill Carroll sitting and talking to a camera in one shot and surrounded by three insurgents with their faces covered by traditional Arab scarves in another.

The report said the included a threat to kill Carroll in 72 hours unless U.S. authorities agreed to release all women detainees in Iraq.

One of the insurgents was shown standing behind a seated Carroll in what appeared to be a room of a house and reading a statement.

Meanwhile, Iraq has asked U.S. authorities to release six of the eight Iraqi females in military custody but not as part of a bid to free a kidnapped American woman journalist, a government official said Thursday.

The U.S. military confirms there are 8 women currently in custody in Iraq. A White House official told CBS News that Carrol's plight is dire and underlined that the U.S. never negotiates with terrorists.

An editor from Al-Jazeera, who declined to be identified because he was unauthorized to speak to the media, said the footage was from the same tape the station had obtained and aired part of on Tuesday.

Those images were the first seen of Carroll, a freelance reporter working for the Christian Science Monitor, since she was abducted Jan. 7 while being driven to a meeting with a Sunni Arab politician, who did not turn up for the interview.

"We're taking every step we can think of to take," David Cook, the Washington bureau chief of the Monitor, said on CBS News' The Early Show. "It seems so unjust that someone who has been such a careful, unbiased, sensitive reporter could be murdered for that kind of public service."

Cook told Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen he's hopeful Carroll will be released.

"There have been developments, we've had some positive developments in terms of statements from politicians in Iraq, from clerics in Iraq, so we take some comfort from that. But there's much more to be done," Cook said. "The clock is ticking, and we need to keep working to get her out."

Two of the most powerful Muslim organizations worldwide are calling for her release, reports CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer.

So is her mother.