Captors release American journalist Jill Carroll

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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Jill Carroll, an American journalist, has been released by her captors after having been held for 82 days.

Caroll was abducted on January 7, 2006 in Baghdad by gunmen and was dropped off by unknown individuals at the Iraqi Islamic Party's branch office in the western part of the Amariyah district in Baghdad. Her translator was killed during the abduction, but her driver escaped.

Carroll is a freelance journalist who writes for the Christian Science Monitor.

"She was released this morning; she's talked to her father and she's fine. This is a wonderful day," said David Cook, chief of The Christian Science Monitor's Washington bureau.

"She is OK. She is safe. She is more or less scared. I told her calm down and we would take care of her," said Tariq al-Hashimi, the party's secretary general.

"I'm really grateful she was released and thank those who worked hard for her release, and we're glad she's alive," said United States President George W. Bush.

Earlier, her captives threatened to kill Carroll if all Iraqi women prisoners were not released from prisons in Iraq.

"I am just happy to be free. I just want to be with my family quickly," said Carroll. "I was treated well. It's important people know that. I was not harmed, they never said they would hit me."

Carroll had written that she had gone to Jordan to "learn as much about the region as possible before the fighting began." She arrived in the Middle East in 2002 to cover the Iraq war.

"There was bound to be plenty of parachute journalism once the war started, and I didn't want to be a part of that," added Carroll.

One week ago, three peace activists were released during a British-led operation in Iraq. Jim Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden, both Canadians and Norman Kember a British man were released on March 23, 2006. A fourth member of the group, Tom Fox from the U.S., was shot dead and found earlier in March in Baghdad. They were members of a group called Christian Peacemaker Teams.