|MAY BE SOLE SURVIVOR
Peter Moore and four bodyguards were snatched in a raid outside Iraq’s Finance Ministry in May 2007.
Briton seized by militants in Iraq freed after 2 1/2 years
LONDON - A British man abducted in Baghdad by armed militants disguised as police officers was freed yesterday, alive and remarkably well after 2 1/2 years in captivity, the British government said.
Computer consultant Peter Moore, who was handed over to Iraqi authorities yesterday morning, is believed to be the only survivor of a group of five Britons abducted in a daring raid outside Iraq’s Finance Ministry in May 2007.
Moore was taken along with his four British bodyguards.
Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Moore, 36, was in good health at the British Embassy in Baghdad.
“I have just had a very moving conversation with Peter himself,’’ Miliband said. He said Moore was “in a remarkable frame of mind’’ given his ordeal.
Miliband said Moore would soon return home to Britain. He said Britain had not made concessions to the captors, but would not say whether a deal had been finalized between the Iraqi government and the kidnappers. He said Moore’s release was the result of the reconciliation process between Iraq’s government and armed groups willing to renounce violence.
Hopes for Moore’s release grew after the militant group behind the kidnapping, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, or League of the Righteous, promised in August to lay down its weapons and join the political process.
The kidnappers had demanded the release of several Shiite militiamen held by US forces, including the group’s leader, Qais al-Khazali, in exchange for the hostages.
Khazali and his brother, Laith al-Khazali, were accused of organizing a daring attack on a local government headquarters in Karbala, Iraq, that killed five US soldiers Jan. 20, 2007.
In London, a spokeswoman for Britain’s Foreign Office said US forces transferred Khazali to Iraqi custody yesterday but denied that had anything to do with Moore’s release. She spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with her department’s regulations.
In Baghdad, a representative of Khazali’s group and an Iraqi member of the negotiating team that helped secure Moore’s release also said Khazali was transferred from US military custody to Iraqi authorities, but said that happened about a week ago.