Det var internasjonal jihad som preget tankegangen til kidnapperne av de to franske journalistene, ikke irakisk nasjonalisme, sier en av dem, Georges Malbrunot til fransk TV.

Mr Malbrunot said his captors were driven more by Islamic holy war than Iraqi nationalism.

«One of the lessons we drew from our captivity was that we were immersed in Planet Bin Laden,» he said.

But Mr Malbrunot told French television the influence of the al-Qaeda leader was especially strong while they were with «a cell of the Islamic Army in the north».

«We were very aware of the fact that it wasn’t the Iraqi agenda that motivated our kidnappers, but the internationalist jihadist agenda.

«I think this is the real challenge for the next 10 years – the clash of cultures that these people are advocating, are seeking.»

Malbrunot advarer journalister som tenker å dra til Irak.

Mr Malbrunot warned other journalists working or thinking of working in Iraq to take care.

«Our kidnappers told us: Don’t come back to Iraq, this is a land of war and we do not need you here. We want to settle our scores with the Americans.

«I would say you must be very, very careful because that country is crawling with armed men who are on the lookout for Westerners.»

De to ble vitne til at fire andre gisler ble halshogd: to makedonere, en av livvaktene til Ahmed Chalabi, og den irakiske direktøren for et kraftverk.

BBC NEWS | World | Europe | French hostage recalls his ordeal