US and British forces freed three Christian peace activists, a Briton and two Canadians, without firing a shot early Thursday, ending a four-month hostage drama in which an American among the group was shot to death and dumped on a Baghdad street earlier in March. According to the Iraqi Interior Ministry, the captives were rescued in a rural area northwest of Baghdad.
Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, the US military spokesman, said that the operation to free the captives was based on information from a man who was captured by US forces Wednesday night. Lynch said no kidnappers were present when the US-British force broke into a house in western Baghdad. The captives' hands were tied, he said, refusing to give other details.
He said Canadians James Loney, 41, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, and Briton Norman Kember, 74, were in good condition. They disappeared Nov. 26. American Tom Fox, 54, of Clear Brook, Virginia, whose body was found on a Baghdad street on March 9, had been kidnapped along with those who were freed on Thursday. The previously unknown Swords of Righteousness Brigades claimed responsibility.