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Iranian official say one of the two kidnapped Belgian tourists release

One of the two kidnapped Belgian tourists had been released, Iranian authorities said on Wednesday.

The couple, which the Belgian Foreign Ministry identified as Carla Van den Eeckhout, 37 and Stefaan Boeve, 28, went missing outside the historical town of Bam in southeastern Iran, in a region known for the kidnapping of Western tourists.

"The woman, named Carla, was freed from the kidnappers yesterday," Col. Mohammad Javad Asna Ashari, police spokesman in southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, told IRNA. "Efforts for releasing her husband continue."

The Belgian Foreign Ministry, which described the couple as unmarried, originally said Tuesday both had been freed before modifying its position.

"We know for sure that the woman has been released because she has been in touch with the family," said spokesman Francois Dumon.

"We thought both had been set free ... we're trying to verify the various media claims," he added.

Foreign tourists are advised to exercise prudence while visiting southeastern Iran and since the late 1990s a number of Westerners have been kidnapped there.

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