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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 November, 2004, 15:34 GMT
Polish woman hostage is released
Teresa Borcz Khalifa at a press conference in Warsaw
Mrs Borcz Khalifa was seized from her home in Baghdad
A Polish woman held hostage in Iraq since late October has been set free and flown back to Warsaw.

Making a surprise appearance at a press conference alongside the Polish prime minister, 54-year-old Teresa Borcz Khalifa said it was a "joyous moment".

Mrs Borcz Khalifa has lived in Iraq for 30 years and is married to an Iraqi.

Prime Minister Marek Belka refused to give details of her release, saying only it was orchestrated by officials in co-operation with other countries.

Mrs Borcz Khalifa arrived in Warsaw on Friday night, said Mr Belka as he introduced her at the news conference.

I was blindfolded all the time and was dressed in Muslim clothing
Teresa Borcz Khalifa
"It was a very joyous moment for me... I feel well, very well," she was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.

She said she had been "well treated" during her three weeks in captivity.

"I was held in a small, very clean room, newly-painted. I was well fed, and I was given plenty of water and toiletries," she told reporters.

Blindfolded

She recalled her abduction from her home in Baghdad on 28 October as "very quick - it was very well organised".

But she gave no further details on her abductors, and said she did not know how her release came about.

"I was blindfolded all the time and was dressed in Muslim clothing," she said.

Mr Belka also refused to say how she had been released.

"I can't give you any details about the circumstances of this event for two reasons," he said.

"First, because of security concerns for our people... and also because our partners expressed a firm wish not to reveal any details of the release operation."

But he did say: "Officials of different services took part in her release in co-operation with institutions from many countries."

While in captivity, Mrs Borcz Khalifa appeared in two videos aired on the Arab television network, al-Jazeera, pleading with her government to pull its troops from the country.

There are about 2,500 Polish troops in south-central Iraq, commanding a division of more than 6,000 troops.

Warsaw has repeatedly ruled out withdrawing Polish troops from Iraq.

Mrs Borcz Khalifa's release comes days after reports that another female hostage, aid worker Margaret Hassan, has been killed by her kidnappers.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
The Polish prime minister announced her release




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