RealNews

Three Japanese Hostages Freed in Iraq

Three Japanese captives in Iraq were freed unharmed on Thursday, ending a week-long hostage crisis. The three were turned over to the Japanese Embassy in Baghdad, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman in Tokyo said. The breakthrough came a day after Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said no progress had been made in negotiations to win the captives’ freedom. Also Wednesday, the government said it was investigating a report that two other Japanese had been taken captive in Iraq. The hostage crisis was the toughest test yet of Koizumi’s commitment to the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq. The kidnappers threatened to kill the three — two aid workers and a photojournalist — if Japan did not withdraw its 500 troops from Iraq. Full Story

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