British, Canadian hostages freed in Iraq

A multinational military raid in Iraq freed a Briton and two Canadians held hostage for almost four months, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Thursday.

The two Canadians required hospital treatment, he said.

Briton Norman Kember, 74 and Canadians James Loney, 41, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32 were freed in by a multinational military operation in Baghdad involving British special forces, Straw said.

He said he was "delighted that now we have a happy ending in this terrible ordeal."

He said Kember was in "reasonable condition" in Baghdad's Green Zone. The two Canadians required hospital treatment, he said, but gave no further details.

The men, members of aid group Christian Peacemaker Teams, were abducted along with American colleague Tom Fox, 54, in Baghdad on Nov. 26. The previously unknown Swords of Righteousness Brigades claimed responsibility.

The men were shown as prisoners in several videos, the most recent a silent clip dated Feb. 28 in which Loney, Kember and Sooden appeared without Fox. His body was found March 10 near a west Baghdad railway line with gunshot wounds to his head and chest, reports the AP.

I.L.