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Four Iraqis Arrested in Connection with Kidnapping of US Journalist


U.S. forces in Iraq have made four arrests in connection with the kidnapping of American reporter Jill Carroll, who was held in captivity for nearly three months.

The spokesman for U.S. coalition forces in Iraq, Major General William Caldwell, made the announcement Wednesday during a briefing to reporters in Baghdad.

"Coalition forces have detained four Iraqi men that we believe have been involved in the kidnapping of Jill Carroll, the Christian Science Monitor journalist held hostage in Iraq for 82 days earlier this year," he said.

General Caldwell said the men were arrested in Anbar province, west of Baghdad. He did not identify them or say when the arrests took place. The general told reporters that the 28-year-old writer was held at three different locations.

He said the four suspects were picked up in a series of raids in western Iraq after a young U.S. military officer noticed small details of a home, located 13 kilometers west of Fallujah in Anbar province, that matched a description given by Carroll. One of the suspects was arrested at that house.

General Caldwell showed reporters a video of the interior of the house, describing how that sighting led to three other raids and three more suspects.

"Site one, which we discussed, was the first location where our young Marines were able to make the first identification based on the intelligence, which ultimately led to finding sites two, three and four as we continued to exploit the intelligence gained at each site," he said.

Iraqi and U.S. officials are currently working on filing criminal charges against the four suspects.

Jill Carroll was kidnapped in the Iraqi capital in January while on her way to a meeting with a Sunni politician. Her driver, who also served as an interpreter, was shot dead.

The kidnappers, a formerly unknown group calling themselves the Revenge Brigade, had demanded the release of all women detainees in Iraq and threatened to kill Carroll if they were not freed. U.S. officials did release some female detainees but said the decision was unrelated to the groups' demands.

During her captivity, Carroll was seen on television several times, pleading for her life in taped statements. She was finally freed on March 30 following the intervention of top Sunni politicians.

News of the arrests came as Carroll prepares to publish an account of her nearly three month long ordeal in the Christian Science Monitor newspaper.

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