By Sudarsan Raghavan Washington Post Foreign Service Tuesday, May 15, 2007; A12
BAGHDAD, May 14 -- As a massive hunt for three missing American soldiers continued into its third day on Monday, a front group for al-Qaeda in Iraq that claims to have captured them warned the U.S. military to stop searching, calling it 'a venture in vain.' The group suggested the abductions were to avenge the rape and killing of a 14-year-old girl in the same area and abuses committed by U.S. troops at Abu Ghraib and other prisons.
'We say to you that what search for your soldiers you may do will not lead you to anything except fatigue, and setbacks for you. Your soldiers are firmly in our hands,' the Islamic State of Iraq said in a statement posted on insurgent Web sites.
'Remember what you had done in this area, when you violated our sister Abeer,' the statement added, referring to Abeer Qassim al-Janabi. Five soldiers were charged in the March 2006 murders of Abeer, her parents and her younger sister. Three soldiers have pleaded guilty in the case."