LONDON - A British man abducted in Baghdad by armed militants disguised as policemen 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 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.
"He is obviously, to put it mildly, absolutely delighted at his release."
Miliband said Britain had not made concessions to the hostage-takers, but would not say whether a deal had been done 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 U.S. forces, including the group's leader, Qais al-Khazali, in exchange for the hostages. Al-Khazali and his brother, Laith al-Khazali, were accused of organizing an attack on a local government headquarters in Karbala, Iraq, that killed five U.S. soldiers on Jan. 20, 2007.
In London, a spokeswoman for Britain's Foreign Office told the Associated Press that U.S. forces transferred al-Khazali to Iraqi custody on Wednesday, but denied that had anything to do with Moore's release. She spoke on condition of anonymity.
Miliband called on the hostage-takers to release the body of Alan McMenemy, one of the four bodyguards kidnapped with Moore. British officials said earlier this year that they believed McMenemy, 34, was dead, but have yet to identify his body.
The remains of the three other Britons - Alec MacLachlan, 30, Jason Swindlehurst, 38, and Jason Creswell, 39 - were returned to Britain earlier this year. It is not clear how they died, although both Swindlehurst and Creswell had multiple gunshot wounds.