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Jazeera beams masked women

Dubai, Oct. 24 (Reuters): An Arab satellite television station showed today tapes of Chechen rebels saying they were ready to die for the independence of their homeland and to take the lives of “infidel” hostages seized in a Moscow theatre.

Al Jazeera television showed a tape of what it said was one of the women rebels saying: “It makes no difference to us where we die and we chose to die here in Moscow and we will take with us the souls of the infidels”.

She was one of five veiled women shown standing in front of a banner with “God is great” written on it in Arabic. Her comments were translated into Arabic. Jazeera also showed in a separate tape what it said was one of the male rebels seated in front of a laptop with a Quran by his side.

“Each of us is ready to sacrifice for God and the independence of Chechnya. We seek death more than you seek life,” said the man, who was also dressed in black.

Rebels in Moscow seized hundreds of theatre-goers as hostages yesterday in an attack believed to have been carried out by Chechen separatist guerrillas who have threatened to shoot their captives or blow up the building unless Russia pulled its troops out of their homeland.

“We came to the Russian capital to stop the war or to die for the sake of God,” said the man, adding that the rebels belonged to sabotage and reconnaissance military brigade in Chechnya.

Jazeera did not say when or how it acquired the tapes.

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