Four Iraqis Are Held in Kidnapping Of Reporter

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By Andy Mosher
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, August 10, 2006

BAGHDAD, Aug. 9 -- U.S. military forces have arrested four Iraqi men in connection with the kidnapping of Jill Carroll, an American journalist who was held captive for 82 days before being set free on March 30, a military spokesman said Wednesday.

Following a trail of clues that led them to four locations in and around Baghdad, U.S. soldiers and Marines apprehended men alleged to have been among Carroll's captors, said Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, the military's top spokesman in Iraq.

Three of the sites were confirmed as places where Carroll had been held, including a house near Habbaniyah, about 40 miles west of Baghdad, that was the last place the kidnappers took her, Caldwell said.

"Troops on the ground, young Marines and sailors, paid attention to what may have been considered minor details at the time" to help identify the first site, Caldwell said.

He did not name the four detainees. They are being held by the military pending a decision on whether they will be charged with any crimes, Caldwell said. An FBI spokesman in Washington, Richard Kolko, said in a statement that "this matter remains an ongoing FBI investigation and any questions about potential prosecution will be addressed at a later date."

Carroll, 28, was working as a freelance reporter for the Christian Science Monitor when she was abducted on Jan. 7 in west Baghdad. Gunmen ambushed her car as she was leaving the office of a Sunni Arab political leader, killing her translator, Allan Enwiyah, 32.

The kidnappers, who identified themselves as the Vengeance Brigades, released three videos of Carroll in captivity and demanded that all Iraqi women in U.S. detention be released. U.S. forces freed some women, but said that move was unrelated to the kidnappers' threats.

Carroll was eventually freed outside an office of the Sunni-dominated Iraqi Islamic Party in west Baghdad.

The Monitor, where Carroll now works as an editor, welcomed the arrests. "Like reporters everywhere, we are reassured to hear that several of those believed to have held Jill have been apprehended," editor Richard Bergenheim told reporters in Boston. "The daily threat of kidnapping in Iraq remains acute for all. Everything possible needs to be done to relieve Iraqis and others of this scourge.

"Those that are reporting in Iraq, those living in Iraq, are a bit safer today," he said.

The Monitor plans Monday to begin publishing an 11-part series chronicling Carroll's kidnapping. Caldwell said information released by the newspaper in advance of the series led the military to announce the arrests on Wednesday.

For example, a promotional video on the Monitor's Web site states that Carroll was moved nine times during her captivity. Caldwell said that while the military has only identified three places where she was held, the number could be higher.

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