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U.S. Journalist In Iraq Released

U.S. journalist Micah Garen, who was kidnapped in Iraq more than a week ago, was released in the southern city of Nasiriyah. Garen spoke to Al-Jazeera television late Sunday, confirming his release.

Garen was interviewed by telephone by the station moments after an aide to Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said the American had been released.

Garen thanked al-Sadr's representatives in Nasiriyah and everyone else who worked to secure his release.

Garen and his Iraqi translator, Amir Doushi, were walking through a market in Nasiriyah on Aug. 13 when two armed men in civilian clothes seized them, police said.

Garen said Sunday he had been taking pictures with a small camera when a misunderstanding happened with people who did not approve, he said without elaborating.

On Thursday, the kidnappers released a video of Garen surrounded by armed, masked gunmen and threatened to kill him if U.S. troops did not leave Najaf, where they had been battling al-Sadr's militia, within 48 hours.

Al-Sadr's representatives condemned the kidnapping, and al-Sadr aide Sheik Awas al-Khafaji had been working in recent days to get Garen released.

After hearing the condemnation, the kidnappers contacted al-Sadr's office in Nasiriyah and then brought Garen there Sunday.

"They released him today, half an hour ago," al-Khafaji said Sunday night.

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