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US Frees Iraqi Women Prisoners, Says Not Related to Abductors' Demands

The U.S. military has released more than 400 Iraqi detainees, including five women prisoners whose freedom was demanded by the kidnappers of an American journalist.

But U.S. officials stress the releases had nothing to do with hostage Jill Carroll. They say a review of their cases determined there was no reason to keep holding the prisoners. Officials added that they planned to release the women before the abductors made their demands.

Carroll's abductors had threatened to kill her last week unless all female Iraqi detainees were freed. There has been no word on her fate, and four Iraqi women remain in custody.

Meanwhile, Iraqi officials say the minister of industry escaped unharmed in a roadside bombing, but the blast killed three of his bodyguards north of Baghdad. And a U.S. soldier died of wounds he sustained in a Wednesday rocket attack near Ramadi.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.