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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 August 2006, 19:12 GMT 20:12 UK
Iraqis held over reporter kidnap
Jill Carroll (l) with her sister and parents
Jill Carroll was reunited with her family in early April
The US military says it has arrested four Iraqi men in connection with the abduction of journalist Jill Carroll, who was held in Iraq for 82 days.

Ms Carroll, from the Christian Science Monitor, was freed in March.

Top US military spokesman Maj Gen William Caldwell told a news briefing the four men were arrested at various locations west of Baghdad.

The American journalist, 28, was kidnapped in west Baghdad on 7 January. Her Iraqi interpreter was shot dead.

Maj Gen Caldwell said a young US military officer had become suspicious about a house in Habbaniya, 13km (seven miles) west of Falluja in the western Anbar province and decided to investigate.

"Troops on the ground - young sailors and marines - paid attention to details that may have been considered minor at the time," said Maj Gen Caldwell.

A photo released by the US military showing one of the houses in which kidnapped journalist Jill Carroll may have been held near Taqqadum airbase, central Iraq
One of the houses in which Carroll is believed to have been held
He said they paid a visit to the house, where they noticed distinctive features mentioned in intelligence reports on the kidnap case.

They detained the owner of the house for questioning, which resulted in raids of at least two additional sites, during which two hostages were released and three more men arrested.

Maj Gen Caldwell showed pictures of one of the houses where suspects were captured and where Ms Carroll is believed to have spent some of her time in captivity.

Maj Gen Caldwell did not say when the suspects were picked up, though reports suggest it may have been weeks ago.

He said US and Iraqi authorities were "discussing prosecutorial options".

Piece of paper

The news agency Associated Press spoke to some of the marines involved in the raid on the first house in Habbaniya.

During their search of the house, they said, they found a piece of paper with Ms Carroll's name on it, $3,600 (1,900) in cash, and an AK-47 hidden in a car outside. A compartment created by a false ceiling in a shower cubicle was used to hide explosives, they said.

Ms Carroll was released on 30 March near the offices of a Sunni political party in Baghdad and returned to the US on 2 April for an emotional reunion with her family.

"Like reporters everywhere, we are reassured to hear that several of those who held Jill have been apprehended," said Christian Science Monitor editor Richard Bergenheim.

"The daily threat of kidnapping in Iraq remains acute for all. Everything possible needs to be done to relieve Iraqis and others of this scourge."

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