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Military rescues American held hostage for 10 months

By wire services
Published September 8, 2005

BAGHDAD - The U.S. military, acting on a tip, raided an isolated farmhouse outside the Iraqi capital Wednesday and rescued an American businessman held hostage for 10 months. The kidnappers, who had kept their captive bound and gagged, escaped without a gunbattle.

The rescue came on a day that saw two deadly bombings around the southern city of Basra, fueling fears the bloody insurgency was taking deeper root outside Sunni-dominated territory. A roadside bomb killed four American security agents. And an Interior Ministry official said 16 people were killed and 21 were injured in a car bombing at a Basra restaurant.

Roy Hallums, 57, was "in good condition and is receiving medical care," a military statement said after U.S. forces freed him and an unidentified Iraqi from the farmhouse 15 miles south of Baghdad.

Lt. Col. Steven A. Boylan, a military spokesman, said the tipster whose information led to Hallums' release was captured just a few hours before the operation.

Hallums called his eldest daughter, Carrie Anne Cooper, 29, early Wednesday from Iraq with news of his rescue, and apologized for causing her so much grief.

Hallums, formerly of Newport Beach, Calif., was kidnapped at gunpoint from his office in the Mansour district of Baghdad on Nov. 1, 2004. At the time, he was working for the Saudi Arabian Trading and Construction Co., supplying food to the Iraqi army.

In a statement posted on a Web site, al-Qaida in Iraq claimed responsibility for Wednesday's roadside bombing, which killed the four security agents.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the four men were employees of Triple Canopy Inc., a Herndon, Va., security company doing contract work for the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, which is responsible for protecting U.S. diplomats at home and abroad. Alan Ptak, senior vice president for the company, identified the four men as: Ronald Hyatt of Calera, Ala.; Robert McCoy of Refugio, Texas; Robert Pole of Miller Place, N.Y.; and Ryan Young of Lewisburg, Tenn.

SADDAM CLAIM DISCOUNTED: Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein acknowledged ordering deadly retribution against Kurds in the north of the country and boasted that the killings were legal and justified, an official of the Iraqi Special Tribunal said Wednesday. The official's remarks appeared to diminish Tuesday's claim by President Jalal Talabani that Saddam confessed to killings and other "crimes" committed during his regime. The tribunal official said the former dictator only acknowledged taking retribution, which was legal under his regime.

[Last modified September 8, 2005, 01:50:14]

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