Four Iranian hostages released in Iraq

February 13, 2006
BAGHDAD (IRNA) -- Four Iranian pilgrims who had been taken hostage by armed men in Iraq 74 days ago, were released on Friday evening.

The four, Ebrahim Abutalebi Tehrani, Mehdi Jazeeni, Hassan Jazeeni and Mohammad Talebi, were part of a six-member group, including two women, who traveled to Iraq on a pilgrimage visit in late November.

They were kidnapped near the city of Balad, north of Baghdad, on November 28, on their way back from the city of Samarra.

The two women were released one day later and were taken to Iran's consulate in Karbala, but there was no information about the fate of the four men.

One month later, the al Arabiya television quoted a group introducing itself as the 'Sad ibn Abi Waqqas' battalion as saying in a statement that the Iranian hostages were held by them.

However, the kidnappers released the four men near Balad on Friday evening.