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American Healthy After Iraq Hostage Rescue

The U.S. military in Baghdad says a former American hostage rescued by coalition forces Wednesday is in good health and looking forward to going home. The rescue was the second time since June that a foreign hostage has been freed in a coalition raid.

The U.S. military says the former hostage, Roy Hallums, is undergoing medical tests, but so far appears to be healthy.

The 57-year-old American, who was freed Wednesday morning, was one of the longest-held foreign hostages in Iraq. He spent ten months in captivity, after being abducted at gunpoint from the offices of his employer in the Mansour district of Baghdad.

At the time, Mr. Hallums was working as a contractor for a Saudi company, which supplied food to the Iraqi army.

The top spokesman for multinationial forces in Iraq, Major General Rick Lynch, told reporters Thursday that information given by an Iraqi detainee led U.S. forces to a farmhouse, about 25 kilometers south of the capital, where they found Mr. Hallums, along with an unidentified Iraqi hostage.

"Once the information was deemed credible, coalition forces immediately planned and executed a raid on a farmhouse where he was being held. In less than three hours from receiving the information from the detainee, Mr. Hallums was in the safe hands of coalition forces," said Mr. Lynch.

In June, Iraqi and U.S. forces found Australian hostage Douglas Wood in a Baghdad home. Mr. Wood, an engineering contractor, was held captive for 47 days.

Both the American and the Australian were kidnapped by criminal gang members, whose main motivation was to collect a ransom. But more than 30 other foreign hostages have been killed for political reasons by Islamic militants since the war in Iraq began in March, 2003.

Meanwhile, al-Qaida in Iraq, led by Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi claimed in an Internet Web site Thursday that it had carried out a roadside bombing in the southern city of Basra the day before, which killed four American security men assigned to protect U.S. diplomats.

The relative peace enjoyed in the southern mostly-Shi'ite part of Iraq has been marred in recent months by a series of roadside and car bombings and factional fighting.