Jill Carroll AP 298.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
American reporter Jill Carroll, who was kidnapped three months ago in a bloody ambush in Iraq that killed her translator, was released from captivity Thursday, saying that she had not been harmed.
"I was treated well, but I do not know why I was kidnapped," Carroll said in a brief interview on Baghdad television.
She was wearing a light green Islamic headscarf, a gray Arabic robe and looked well.
"Obviously, I want to be with my family," she could be heard to say under the Arabic voiceover.
"All I can say right now is I am happy I am free. I am happy to be free," she said.
The freed captive said she was only allowed to move between her room and the bathroom.
According to the Arabic translation of her remarks, Carroll said she had been allowed to watch television on one occasion, but that was not sufficient for her to have a good idea of the news about her. She said her captors allowed her to read a newspaper.
She was not heard to say anything about who her captors might have been.
In Germany, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressed "great delight" and relief at Carroll's release.
Rice noted the "great delight and great relief of the United States, the people of the United States and, I'm sure, the people of the world at the release today of Jill Carroll."
"This is something that people have across the world worked for and prayed for and I think we are all very pleased and happy to hear of her release," Rice said.
"She was released this morning, she's talked to her father and she's fine," said David Cook, an editor for The Christian Science Monitor in Washington. He said the paper had no further details.
Police Lt. Col. Falah al-Mohammedawi said Carroll was released near an office of the Iraqi Islamic Party in western Baghdad.
"She is healthy and we handed her over to the Americans," Nasir al-Ani, a party member, told The Associated Press. The party is the main Sunni political organization.
Carroll, a freelance reporter for the Monitor, was kidnapped on Jan. 7, in Baghdad's western Adil neighborhood while going to interview Sunni Arab politician Adnan al-Dulaimi. Her translator was killed in the attack about 300 yards from al-Dulaimi's office.
Her captors, calling themselves the Revenge Brigades, had demanded the release of all women detainees in Iraq by Feb. 26 and said Carroll would be killed if that didn't happen. The date came and went with no word about her welfare.
The United States Embassy in Baghdad would not confirm Carroll's release.
On Feb. 28, Iraq's Interior Minister Bayan Jabr said Carroll was being held by the Islamic Army in Iraq, the insurgent group that freed two French journalists in 2004 after four months in captivity.
Jabr said then that he believed the 28-year-old freelance reporter was still alive, although the deadline set by her captors for the US to meet their demands had expired.
She was last seen in a videotape broadcast Feb. 9 by the private Kuwaiti television station Al-Rai.
On Wednesday Carroll's twin, Katie, pleaded for her sister's release on Arab television.
"I've been living a nightmare, worrying if she is hurt or ill," she in a statement read on the Al-Arabiya network.
Carroll is the fourth Western hostage to be freed in eight days. On March 23, US and British soldiers, acting on intelligence gained from a detainee, freed Briton Norman Kember, 74, and Canadians James Loney, 41, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, from a house west of Baghdad.
The three belonged to the Christian Peacemakers Teams group and had been kidnapped with an American colleague, Tom Fox, 54, on Nov. 26. Fox was killed and his body was dumped in western Baghdad on March 9.