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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 February 2008, 18:16 GMT
Abducted Iraqi interpreter 'free'
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Kidnappers in Iraq have released an Iraqi interpreter working for the American network CBS who was captured in Basra on Sunday, a Shia leader says.

Harith al-Adhari told news agencies that negotiations were continuing for the release of a second man, described as a Western journalist.

CBS has not named the two men and requested that others refrained from speculating about their identities.

Mr Adhari said the freed man was taken back to the hotel where he was seized.

Interior Ministry official Majid al-Ibadi, involved in the continuing negotiations, said he was "making efforts to get the reporter released within 24 hours".

Hopes were raised earlier in the day when Moqtada al-Sadr's office said it had struck a deal with the kidnappers.

'Deadliest conflict'

Witnesses said the men were taken from the Sultan Palace Hotel on Sunday by at least eight gunmen.

The Iraqi intelligence services were put on "high alert" and police were deployed to search for the two men.

Their disappearance came amid continuing concern about the dangers faced by media staff in Iraq.

International media watchdogs have reported dozens of journalists killed each year since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has described Iraq as "the most dangerous country in the world for journalists and the deadliest conflict for the press in recent history".



SEE ALSO
Iraq town hit by deadly car bomb
10 Feb 08 |  Middle East
Country profile: Iraq
09 Feb 08 |  Country profiles

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