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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 January, 2004, 18:00 GMT
In pictures: Iraqi prisoners freed
A crowd stands behind a barrier of razor wire outside Abu Ghraib prison, about 35km west of Baghdad
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Hundreds of Iraqis had been waiting since early morning for the release of relatives from Abu Ghraib prison, near Baghdad.
Iraqi women wait outside Abu Ghraib prison
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Many preferred to remain within sight of the gate, despite being told that the inmates would be taken to a nearby town and freed there.
Iraqi prisoners wave from the back of a US military truck after being released from Abu Ghraib
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After several hours of anxious wait, relatives saw two US military trucks with up to 80 prisoners leaving Abu Ghraib.
Released prisoners walked towards waiting relatives
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A short while later, the prisoners were dropped off and released.
A relative embraces a released prisoner (with a hat on)
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There were scenes of jubilation, as relatives reunited with their loved ones on the desolate stretch of a road leading to the prison.
Son and wife of a man who was imprisoned in Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison greet him after he was set free
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Many were overcome with emotions.
A man wears his prisoner tag after he was released from Abu Ghraib prison
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But the US-led coalition declined to confirm whether the inmates were the first batch out of 506 to be freed as a goodwill gesture.


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