Formal confirmation was received today that Margaret Hassan has been murdered in Iraq.

Irish-born Mrs Hassan was married to an Iraqi man, who has made an emotional plea for her body to be returned. She had lived in Iraq for 30 years, held an Iraqi passport and had converted to Islam. As director of aid agency Care International’s Iraq operations, she was well loved and respected in her area for her hard work on behalf of Iraqis.

Mrs Hassan was kidnapped by an unknown group. After a harrowing month in captivity, she was shot.

News of her murder has met with worldwide disgust. The Muslim Council of Britain issued a statement in which it said “Mrs Hassan had served the Iraqi people tirelessly for most of her adult life and it is appalling her goodness has been repaid with murder.

Iraqis have also been swift to condemn the killing, ensuring their horror and disbelief at the crime will be heard by those who cannot easily distinguish between the labels ‘Iraqi’ and ‘terrorist’.

Journalist Robert Fisk has today questioned the information surrounding Mrs Hassan’s murder in The Independent (you’ll need BugMeNot for a login).

Our thoughts go out to Margaret Hassan’s husband, family and friends, and to all victims of violence in Iraq.