The capture and release of hostages in Yemen, Gaza, and Iraq continues apace. Once the Germans were released, some Italians were captured in Yemen with more demands made. Meanwhile in Gaza a misguided young British woman allows herself and her parents to be taken, though later they were released. The most absurb, on the surface, hostage taking had to be the hijacking of Rachel Corrie's parents by some Palestinians; once these kunckle-draggers realized who they captured, they quickly released them muttering profuse apologies. Meanwhile those four Christian do-gooders who travelled to Iraq to expose US war-crimes have not been heard from in a month, their fate unknown.
Sgrena, Oshtoff I think started a new trend in hostage taking. The catpure of friendly infidels. This is very much a win-win situation for the murdering thugs for a few reasons: these hostages do not fight back unlike that Italian who showed real courage, they are very trusting of the terrorists so are easy marks, and in the case of Germany the terrorists know they can cut some kind of deal. The US learned the lesson of not dealing with pirates back at Tripoli and then relearned that lesson with Iran-Contra, yes it got some hostages released but the hostage takers still hated the US.
So I think we are seeing a very brisk buyer's market in hostage taking emerging. And it will continue until the supply of willing victims is exhausted or countries stop cutting deals with these thugs. Though the latter is a hard course to take since it ups the chances of the hostages comming back in body-bags and not alive.