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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 October 2005, 19:13 GMT 20:13 UK
Irish team sent to free reporter
Rory Carroll (Guardian handout/PA)
Guardian reporter Rory Carroll has been in Iraq for nine months
The Irish government is sending a team of officials to Baghdad to try to secure the release of kidnapped Guardian journalist Rory Carroll.

The Dublin-born correspondent, 33, is reported to have been taken by armed men while on assignment in Baghdad.

Ireland's ambassador to Finland - a former ambassador to Iraq - will lead the five-person delegation.

Ireland's foreign affairs minister said the move was intended to emphasise Mr Carroll's Irish citizenship.

RORY CARROLL'S CAREER
Graduate of Trinity College, Dublin
Joined Irish News in Belfast
1997 Northern Ireland young journalist of the year
Joined Guardian as home news reporter
Made South Europe correspondent in 1999
Was South Africa correspondent before going to Iraq nine months ago

The Irish ambassador leading the delegation, Antoin MacUnfraidh, will be accompanied by two Irish army officers, a senior police officer and another Department of Foreign Affairs official.

Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern said: "This is as high-powered a team as we can send out.

"We are determined to do everything we can to secure Rory's release."

Three arrested

Three men arrested at the Baghdad house where Mr Carroll was reportedly snatched on Wednesday are being questioned.

It was something we had been secretly dreading. We were hoping it would never happen
Joe Carroll
Rory Carroll's father

The commander of the Iraqi special forces involved in the search told BBC News his men were doing all they could to free Mr Carroll.

But he did not know which group was holding the journalist or what they wanted.

The Guardian said Mr Carroll had been in Baghdad with two drivers and an interpreter to interview a victim of Saddam Hussein's regime when he was kidnapped.

As he left the house where the interview had taken place, he was confronted by gunmen and he and one of the drivers bundled into a car. The driver was released about 20 minutes later.

A relative of the interviewee told BBC News they had had nothing to do with the kidnapping.

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger said staff at the paper were "deeply concerned" for Mr Carroll.

"We urge those holding him to release him swiftly - for the sake of his family and for the sake of anyone who believes the world needs to be kept fully informed about events in Iraq today."

'Played it down'

The Irish Anti-War Movement has also called for Mr Carroll's release and said it would be contacting anti-occupation groups in Baghdad.

The journalist's father, Joe, told the BBC: "It was something we had been secretly dreading. We were hoping it would never happen."

Mr Carroll said his son had received specialised training for such situations.

"He knew we were worried but he used to reassure us and say it wasn't as dangerous as people outside think and if you observed basic rules of security, you'd be okay," he said.

"We knew he was playing it down for our sake. It was obvious danger."


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