Source AP ©

Kidnapped TV reporter released in Iraq

An Iraqi reporter was released after he had been kidnapped in Baghdad last week.

Muntadhar al-Zaidi, a 28-year-old reporter for the Iraqi satellite channel al-Baghdadiyah, was released and appeared to be in good health, according to an editor at the channel who spoke on condition of anonymity because of safety concerns.

No ransom was paid, the editor said. Al-Zaidi was home with his relatives by mid-afternoon on Monday, the editor said.

He would not elaborate with any details of the release or those responsible for al-Zaidi's kidnapping.

Al-Zaidi disappeared Friday on his way to work in central Baghdad, the station said a day later. His colleagues realized he had been kidnapped when one of them called al-Zaidi's cell phone and a stranger answered, the editor said. "Forget Muntadhar," the stranger said, according to the editor.

Iraqi journalists frequently come under threats from insurgents because of their reporting or their affiliation with foreign organizations.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists says at least 51 reporters have been confirmed kidnapped in Iraq since the war began in 2003. The majority 34 of those were released, 12 were killed and five are still being held, according to CPJ.

Last month, an Iraqi reporter for U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Jumana al-Obaidi, was kidnapped in Baghdad and released 10 days later, her station said.

Al-Baghdadiyah TV broadcasts from Cairo, Egypt, and is often critical of the Iraqi government and the U.S. military presence here. It is perceived as pro-Sunni.

The station has lost two reporters in attacks against media in Iraq. The most recent was in September, when gunmen killed another correspondent, Jawad Saadoun al-Daami, in western Baghdad.

CPJ says at least 123 journalists and 42 media support workers translators, drivers, fixers and guards have been killed in Iraq since 2003. About 85 percent of those deaths were Iraqis, the group said.

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