MOSUL, Iraq (AP) - Relatives of a beheaded Iraqi priest say his captors had demanded a church apology for recent papal comments about Islam.
They say the Orthodox priest was abducted Sunday by an unidentified group, which demanded a ransom. The kidnappers also wanted the priest's church to condemn controversial recent remarks by Pope Benedict. In a speech last month, the pope quoted a medieval text describing Islam as a religion spread by the sword.
The relatives said the priest's church had already posted signs condemning the pope's statement. A similar message was posted again after the abduction.
The priest's son had apparently been talking with the kidnappers by phone, and had agreed to pay a 40-thousand dollar ransom. But contact abruptly ceased Tuesday night. The priest's decapitated body was found yesterday in the northern Iraq city of Mosul.
©2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.