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Australian Hostage Freed In Iraq

15 June 2005 -- Australian Prime Minister John Howard says Douglas Wood, an Australian held hostage in Iraq for almost two months, has been freed in a military operation led by Iraqi forces.

Howard told parliament today that Wood is safe and well and in Australian hands in Baghdad.

Sixty-three-year-old Wood, who lives in the United States, had worked as a contractor in Iraq for a year before he was kidnapped by insurgents.

The Australian is the latest of several hostages who have been released unharmed recently in Iraq.

Meanwhile, the death toll in yesterday's suicide bombing in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk stands at least 22. A Sunni-Arab group (Army of Ansar al-Sunna) claimed responsibility for the blast.


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