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Hostage In Iraq Reportedly To Be Freed

7 February 2005 -- An Iraqi group that kidnapped a female Italian journalist has posted a message on their website saying they will free her soon.

The militant group that calls itself the Jihad Organization said it had interrogated Guiliana Sgrena and found she was not a "spy."

The message said she would be released in the coming days. She was kidnapped in Baghdad on 4 February.

Meanwhile, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq John Negroponte today said that Washington is willing to work with any government that emerges from Iraq's landmark national elections.

Negroponte's comments came as Iraq's electoral commission continued to count votes from the January 30 election and investigate claims of irregularities during the poll. Commission official Izziddine al-Mohammadi spoke to journalists.

"The council of the (electoral) commission thoroughly examined all the shortcomings (in the elections)," al-Mohammadi said. "It is now taking measures against each one of them separately. It will inform Iraqi people about the results of its investigations as soon as possible."

There was also violence reported in Iraq today as two suicide bombers killed at least 24 people -- mostly police officers -- in the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Baq'uba.


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