The New York Times reports today:
Three Western peace workers who were held hostage in Iraq for four months were freed in a military operation today, two weeks after their American colleague was killed in captivity.
The three men - James Loney, 41, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, both from Canada; and Norman Kember, 74, of Britain - had been kidnapped last November along with the American man, Tom Fox, in Baghdad.
Mr. Fox's body was found this month. He had apparently been tortured by his captors before being shot multiple times in the head and dumped on a trash heap next to a railway line in western Baghdad.
"Our hearts are filled with joy today as we heard that Harmeet Singh Sooden, Jim Loney and Norman Kember have been safely released in Baghdad," said a statement from the group they were working with, the Christian Peacemaker Teams. "Together we have endured uncertainty, hope, fear, grief and now joy during the four months since they were abducted in Baghdad."
The delegation coordinator for the group, Claire Evans, said by telephone from Chicago that Mr. Loney, a 41-year old Canadian, had contacted his family this morning from the Green Zone, the fortified compound in Baghdad where some American military forces, Iraqi government offices and the American embassy are located.
"He said that they were all in reasonable health," she said, adding that the three men were undergoing medical checks.
The men were freed by multinational forces in a military operation. In London, the British foreign secretary, Jack Straw, said that the mission included British forces.
"It follows weeks and weeks of very careful work by military and coalition personnel in Iraq and many civilians as well," Mr. Straw said, adding that it involved a number of countries, including Canadian personnel.
What did The Christian Peacemakers have to say about it? Thank you, perhaps? Not bloody likely.
"We believe that the illegal occupation of Iraq by Multinational Forces is the root cause of the insecurity which led to this kidnapping and so much pain and suffering in Iraq. The occupation must end.
What an appalling display of their ignorance of Saddam's oppression, Al Qaeda's conscienceless violence, and of ingratitude to their rescuers.