British hostage freed in Iraq
Briton Peter Moore, taken hostage in Baghdad in 2007, has been released alive, the Iraqi and British governments said on Wednesday.
"British hostage Peter Moore has been released alive and been handed to the British embassy in Baghdad," Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said, Reuters reported.
"He is alive and in good health ... The Iraqi government is happy that he will be joining his family for the holidays," he added.
In London, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband confirmed his release and said he had just had a very moving telephone conversation with Moore.
"Peter is in good health despite many months of captivity. He is undergoing medical checks and will be reunited with his family as soon as possible. He is obviously delighted at his release," he told reporters.
Moore, a computer programer working on a contract in Baghdad, was captured with four of his bodyguards from Iraq's Finance Ministry in 2007.
The bodies of three of the bodyguards have since been handed to British authorities. The fate of the fourth bodyguard, Alan McMenemy, is as yet unconfirmed. British officials believe he is dead. Dabbagh said Iraq had no information on the issue.
"We have believed for some time that he has been killed and his immediate family have been told our view of his likely fate," Miliband said. "I therefore call again on the hostage takers to return Alan's body as soon as possible."
Dabbagh said Iraq had not been involved in talks to secure Moore's release, but that the government supported the efforts taken.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he was hugely relieved by the news of Moore's release and that he would be reunited with his family.
"They have faced a terrible ordeal, and I know that the whole nation will share their joy that he is coming home," he said in a statement.