Page last updated at 14:30 GMT, Saturday, 19 April 2008 15:30 UK

Kidnap journalist thanks rescuers

Richard Butler
Photojournalist Richard Butler has covered conflicts around the world

A British journalist held hostage for more than two months has praised the Iraqi army's "bravery" in rescuing him.

Troops stormed the house where Richard Butler was being held, overcame his guards and rescued him on Monday.

The photojournalist, who works for the US television network CBS, had been kidnapped in Basra in February.

In a statement to CBS News, Mr Butler also appealed for hostages "regardless of nationality" to be set free and returned to their families.

'Bravery under fire'

Mr Butler's statement said: "First and foremost I'd like to thank all those that were involved in working for my freedom, especially the Iraqi army whose bravery under fire actually won my freedom.

"I would also like to express my deepest thanks to my colleagues at CBS who worked tirelessly on my behalf and looked after my family in my absence.

"At no time during my captivity was I mistreated.

"And lastly and most importantly, I would appeal to all hostage takers to release their hostages regardless of nationality and return them to their families."

Mr Butler was found in a house in Basra with his hands tied behind his back and a hood over his head, according to the Iraqi ministry of defence.

The BBC's Crispin Thorold said the rescue was apparently down to a lucky coincidence.

The Iraqi forces launched the raid following an intelligence tip-off that was not about Mr Butler, but about a weapons cache in Basra, our correspondent said.

British journalist freed in Iraq
14 Apr 08 |  Middle East
Abducted Iraqi interpreter 'free'
13 Feb 08 |  Middle East
CBS journalists missing in Iraq
12 Feb 08 |  Middle East

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