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3 Americans kidnapped in Iraq have been freed

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Three American contractors who were kidnapped last month by an armed group in Baghdad have been freed, two Iraqi security officials and a U.S. official said Tuesday.

Elements of the Iraqi intelligence apparatus freed the three, the officials said. Further details about their rescue weren’t immediately available.

Gunmen kidnapped the three Americans, whose identities have not been released, on January 15 while the trio visited a home in Dora, a neighborhood in southern Baghdad, Iraqi officials said.

An organized crime gang was believed to be behind the abductions, Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi told reporters in Baghdad on January 21.

The U.S. State Department on Tuesday said it “welcomes the news that the government of Iraq has secured the release of three U.S. citizens who were reported as missing in January.”

“We sincerely appreciate the assistance provided by the government of Iraq, and its whole-of-government effort to bring about the safe release of these individuals,” the department said in a statement. “Specifically, we express our gratitude to the Iraqi Security Forces, and in particular the Ministry of Defense and the Iraqi National Intelligence Service, for their role in achieving this outcome.”

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