U.S. Forces Storm House, Free Egyptians in Iraq
U.S. forces in Iraq stormed a house in Baghdad on Monday and freed Egyptian telecommunications engineers kidnapped since Sunday, the head of their Egyptian parent company said. Naguib Sawiris, chairman of Egypt’s Orascom Telecom, said U.S. forces raided a villa, possibly in the mainly Sunni al-Aadhamiya district, and freed two of the four Egyptians. The other two managed to escape on their own from a car they had been locked in, he added.
“All four are free,” Sawiris told Reuters by telephone from Algeria. “Two were released when U.S. forces barged into where they were being held in Baghdad and the other two escaped on their own … The Americans caught one of the kidnappers,” he said.
Sawiris said two of the men were now in Orascom’s Baghdad office while the other two were in the heavily fortified and U.S.-controlled Green Zone. Their families had been contacted and informed that their sons were safe, he added. In Baghdad, a U.S. military spokesman told Reuters he was unable to immediately confirm the report, adding that the military had heard media reports and were making checks. Earlier, Sawiris told U.S. CNN television that the kidnappers had demanded half a million dollars in ransom and that the demand was not met.
Excellent news all round. Great for the families, of course, but also good for emboldening our allies in Iraq and abroad and for the morale of our soldiers.