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Reporter’s kidnappers extend death threat

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — An e-mail Thursday purportedly by the kidnappers of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl extended the deadline for killing him by one day.

The unsigned e-mail was received by Pakistani and Western media.

"We will give you one more day," the message said. "If America will not meet our demands, we will kill Daniel. Then this cycle will continue and no American journalist could enter Pakistan."

The unsigned message said that unless the kidnappers' demands are met, "the Amrikans (Americans) will get what they deserve."

The e-mail said the Pearl abduction was not the end and threatened a "real war on Amrikans," who it said will "get the taste of death and destructions what we got" in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

A similar e-mail sent Wednesday had said Pearl, the Journal's South Asian bureau chief who disappeared Jan. 23 in Karachi, would be executed after 24 hours and demanded all American journalists leave Pakistan within three days or become targets.

The Wall Street Journal and Pearl's pregnant wife appealed to his kidnappers to spare his life. "Killing Danny will achieve nothing for you," Journal managing editor Paul Steiger wrote in a return message. "His murder would be condemned by the entire world, and your group would be viewed as murderers without serious political objectives."

Instead, Steiger urged the kidnappers to release Pearl with a "detailed list of the issues and grievances that are important to you" so that he "can articulate them to others."

Pearl was trying to arrange an interview with a Muslim cleric, Mubarak Ali Shah Gilani, when he disappeared. Pakistani police arrested Gilani on Wednesday and carried out raids in several cities, but said they don't know where Pearl is being held.

The heretofore unknown National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty sent e-mails last weekend to news organizations demanding that Pakistanis held by the U.S. military at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, be returned here for trial.

The e-mail included pictures of Pearl with a pistol pointed to his head.

Wednesday's e-mail alleged that Pearl was working for the Israeli intelligence agency, the Mossad. "Therefore, we will execute him within 24 hours unless Amreeka (America) fulfills our demands," the message said.

It accused U.S. journalists of working for intelligence agencies and warned that any American journalists still in the country after three days "will be targeted." The message included two photos of Pearl wearing the same clothing as in the earlier pictures.

The latest e-mail gave no reason why the deadline for Pearl's killing had been extended, and no time was given for the start of the countdown.

In an interview with CNN, Pearl's wife, Marianne, appealed to the kidnappers to open a dialogue with her about winning her husband's freedom.

"This is completely wrong, to hold us. It's just creating more misery and that's it. Nothing can come out of there," she said.

Asked if she had a message for her husband, Marianne Pearl said: "I love you." She said she had not slept in six days, but was not desperate and was keeping up hope.

Former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali, a Muslim, also asked Pearl's captors to show "compassion and kindness" and release him.

"I have not lost Allah's hope in us to show compassion where none exists and to extend mercy in the most difficult of circumstances. We as Muslims must lead by example," Ali, 60, said in a statement, according to CNN.

Pearl disappeared after leaving for an appointment at a Karachi restaurant with a contact whom he hoped could arrange an interview with Gilani, head of the small militant Islamic group Tanzimul Fuqra.

In a statement Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal denied that Pearl was an agent of any government. "He is a reporter for us — nothing more or less," the statement said. "He cannot affect the policy of the U.S. or Pakistani government. Nor can we."

Wednesday's e-mail purportedly from Pearl's captors included an apology to his family "for the worry caused." It said the kidnappers would send food packages "just as Amreeka apologized for collateral damage and dropped food packages" in Afghanistan during last year's bombing campaign.

"We hope Mr. Danny's family will be grateful for the food packets that we send them just as the Amreekan public expected the Afghans to be grateful for the food packets its Air Force was dropping on them," the e-mail said.

When trying to meet Gilani, Pearl was working on various stories, including possible links between Pakistani groups and Richard C. Reid, accused of trying to blow up an American Airlines plane with explosives hidden in his sneakers.

Pakistani authorities said Pearl was most likely being held by a known radical Muslim faction — Harkat ul-Mujahedeen — linked to the al-Qaida terrorist organization.