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Iraqi Soldiers Seek Captive U.S. Journalist

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2006 – Iraqi soldiers and police are conducting a house-to-house search for American freelance journalist Jill Carroll, who was taken hostage in the Baghdad area Jan. 7, a senior Iraqi military officer said on U.S. television today.

"We isolate areas in cooperation with the police and go house to house searching for Jill," Lt. Gen. Nasser Abadi told Fox News Channel. "We've done three areas now, and tomorrow we'll finish one big district."

Abadi, the deputy commanding general of Iraqi Joint Forces, expressed hope that his soldiers would soon find the 28-year-old woman who'd been filing Iraq-based stories for the "Christian Science Monitor."

Carroll's abductors have threatened to kill her unless all Iraqi women captives are released from custody.

Yesterday, 424 detainees including five Iraqi women were released from detention facilities in Iraq, U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch told reporters at a Baghdad news conference that day. Lynch said the former detainees involved in that release were found to pose no danger to Iraqi society.

However, the five Iraqi women were not released in response to the threats uttered by Carroll's abductors, Lynch, a spokesman for Multinational Force Iraq, said. "Those female detainees were released as part of (the) normal process and not as (the) result of demands by terrorists and criminals," he said. "We don't negotiate with terrorists and criminals."

Abadi also commented on the 8th Iraqi Army Division's assumption of counterinsurgency operations in the Diwaniyah and Wasit provinces. Those provinces make up a combined geographic area about the size of the state of Kentucky.

"This is a big milestone in our new army's history," Abadi said, noting that Iraq has conducted three successful democratic elections since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime.

"And now we have a better army," he said.

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