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Pictured US 'hostage' is just a toy

London Telegraph | February 2 2005

A claim on an Islamist website yesterday that an American soldier had been taken hostage in Iraq was revealed as a crude hoax last night.

Insurgents claimed to be holding a soldier and said they intended to kill him within 72 hours unless Iraqi prisoners were released. A website showed a picture purporting to show the man in uniform with a gun pointed at his head.

The Pentagon denied that any American soldiers were unaccounted for in Iraq.

A Californian model manufacturer said later that it believed that the head of the soldier was very like that of "Cody", a toy action figure sold at US military bases in the Middle East and based on US special forces soldiers fighting in Iraq.

A spokesman for Dragon Models USA said: "For us, it bears a striking resemblance. We want the proper authorities to check it out.''

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