Iraq army says man confesses to beheading Japanese
BAGHDAD, Mar 5 (Reuters) The Iraqi army said a man taken into custody, Ibnal Masriya, had confessed to beheading a Japanese backpacker in October 2004, Al-Iraqiya state television reported today.
The 24-year-old Japanese hostage, Shosei Koda, was killed when demands by al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's militant group for Tokyo to pull out its troops were not met. His headless body was found by Iraqi police dumped in a street in Baghdad.
Japan has roughly 600 non-combat ground troops in Samawa, in the south.
Many Japanese blamed Koda for putting himself at risk despite the obvious danger and repeated government warnings against travel to Iraq.
REUTERS CH KP2228