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Three French Aid Workers Released With Iraqi Colleague Following Baghdad Abduction

Three French aid workers and an Iraqi colleague have been released in Iraq two months after they were kidnapped in Baghdad, the French government reports.

French President Emmanuel Macron on March 26 announced that the four had been freed. He thanked Iraqi officials for helping France to win their release, although he did not provide details.

It was not immediately clear which group had taken the four hostage or what had been done to get them released.

"The president of the republic welcomes the release of our three nationals Antoine Brochon, Julien Dittmar, Alexandre Goodarzy, and Iraqi Tariq Mattoka," Macron’s office said in a statement.

The four had worked for the SOS Chretiens d'Orient aid group, which helps persecuted Christians in the Middle East.

They had been staying at a hotel that regularly hosts international guests when they were abducted on January 20.

The announcement of the release comes a day after France said it was pulling its troops out of Iraq as its military was increasingly needed at home to help fight the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The troops are part of Operation Chammal, a French military mission in Iraq and Syria that is attempting to stem the expansion of the Islamic State (IS) militant group and other extremists in the region and to support the Western-backed Iraqi Army.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters