Carroll: Captors Treated Me 'Very Well'
By MARIAM FAM, Associated Press Writer
5 minutes ago
BAGHDAD, Iraq - American reporter Jill Carroll was set free Thursday, police said, nearly three months after she was kidnapped in an ambush that killed her translator. She said she was treated "very well" but still doesn't know why she was abducted.
Carroll, 28, was handed over to the Iraqi Islamic Party office in Amiriya, western Baghdad, by an unknown group, Police Lt. Col. Falah al-Mohammedawi said. She was later turned over to the Americans and was believed to be in the heavily fortified Green Zone, he said.
"She is healthy and we handed her over to the Americans," Nasir al-Ani, a party member, told The Associated Press. The party is the main Sunni political organization.
David Cook, Washington bureau chief of The Christian Science Monitor for which Carroll was a freelance reporter, said she was "fine."
Carroll's family, who had faced uncertainty after two deadlines set by her kidnappers had passed, said they were elated at news of her release.
"We are thrilled and relieved at the safe return of my daughter, Jill," her father, Jim Carroll, said in a statement read on NBC's "Today" show. "We want to thank the thousands of people that prayed and especially the people at The Christian Science Monitor who did so much to keep her image alive in Iraq."
Carroll was kidnapped on Jan. 7, in Baghdad's western Adil neighborhood while going to interview Sunni Arab politician Adnan al-Dulaimi. Her translator was killed in the attack about 300 yards from al-Dulaimi's office.
During her months in captivity, she had appeared twice in videos broadcast on Arab television, pleading for her life.
Her captors, calling themselves the Revenge Brigades, had demanded the release of all women detainees in Iraq by Feb. 26 and said Carroll would be killed if that didn't happen. The date came and went with no word about her fate.
On Feb. 28, Iraq's Interior Minister Bayan Jabr said Carroll was being held by the Islamic Army in Iraq, the insurgent group that freed two French journalists in 2004 after four months in captivity.
She was last seen in a videotape broadcast Feb. 9 by the private Kuwaiti television station Al-Rai. Her twin sister, Katie, issued a plea for her release on Al-Arabiya television late Wednesday.
News of her release also left friends overjoyed.
"I don't know whether to cry or skip down my street," Jackie Spinner, a friend who is a reporter for The Washington Post, told ABC's "Good Morning America."
Carroll went to the Middle East in 2002 after being laid off from a newspaper job. She had long dreamed of covering a war.
In American Journalism Review last year, Carroll wrote that she moved to Jordan in late 2002, six months before the war started, "to learn as much about the region as possible before the fighting began."
"There was bound to be plenty of parachute journalism once the war started, and I didn't want to be a part of that," she wrote.
Carroll has had work from Iraq published in the Monitor, AJR, U.S. News & World Report, an Italian news wire and other publications. She has been interviewed often on National Public Radio.
On Wednesday, Katie Carroll said her sister is a "wonderful person" who is an "innocent woman."
"I've been living a nightmare, worrying if she is hurt or ill," she in a statement read on the Al-Arabiya network.
Carroll is the fourth Western hostage to be freed in eight days. On March 23, U.S. and British soldiers, acting on intelligence gained from a detainee, freed Briton Norman Kember, 74, and Canadians James Loney, 41, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, from a house west of Baghdad.
The three belonged to the Christian Peacemakers Teams group and had been kidnapped with an American colleague, Tom Fox, 54, on Nov. 26. Fox was killed and his body was dumped in western Baghdad on March 9.