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Australian Leader Praises Iraqi, U.S. Forces for Hostage Rescue

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 15, 2005 – Australia's prime minister today praised the Iraqi forces who rescued former hostage Douglas Wood in Baghdad, Iraq, this morning, as well as the American forces who supported the operation.

Wood, an Australian who lives in California with his American wife, was kidnapped by an Islamic extremist group almost seven weeks ago.

Prime Minister John Howard, in an address to Australia's Parliament, expressed his appreciation to the government and military officials who worked for Wood's rescue.

"It is a wonderful outcome for this man who suffered so much, and it's a tribute to the work of our Iraqi and American friends that this has come about," he said.

Howard also praised Wood's family for their conduct throughout the ordeal. "The strength and resolve and courage that his brothers and the other members of his family have displayed, their understanding of the difficulty of this whole incident for all involved has been, I can only say, very deeply impressive," he said.

No ransom was paid for Wood's return, Howard noted, and Australia's position in Iraq has not been compromised. "I want to reiterate our commitment to the stability and reconstruction of Iraq and to the Iraqi people who are daily the victims of terrorism and crime," he said.

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