Wood released in Iraq

10/01/2019 Posted by admin

Speaking in parliament, Mr Howard said he was released after an Iraqi-US military operation and is now under the protection of an Australian team sent to Baghdad to negotiate his release.

“I understand that he is well, he’s undergoing medical checks at the present time,” he said.

“He was recovered a short time ago in Baghdad in a military operation that I’m told was conducted by Iraqi forces, in co-operation with … American forces.”

Mr Howard said no ransom was paid to secure Mr Wood’s release, and praised the efforts of Australia’s Islamic community and Australian mufti Sheikh Taj Aldin al-Hilaly for their efforts.

The 63-year-old engineer was taken by insurgents in April.

News of his ordeal first became public in when his captors released a DVD showing him pleading for his life.

The government sent a special taskforce to Iraq, headed by prominent diplomat Nick Warner, to work to free Mr Wood.

Mr Howard said Australians would be jubilant about the news of Mr Wood’s release.

“This man has suffered immensely,” he said.

“I want on behalf of all of the parliament to pay tribute to the dignity and strength of his family.”

A spokesman for Mr Wood’s family said they heard the news about his release about 6pm AEST.

“They are elated,” the spokesman said.

“They haven’t spoken to him yet but I understand that all of the family know in all parts of the world.”

Mr Howard thanked American forces for their “constant support and availability and cooperation”, and said he has been trying to contact Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari to thank him.

“I want to reiterate our commitment to the stability and the reconstruction of Iraq and to the Iraqi people who are daily the victims of terrorism and crime,” Mr Howard said.

“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.”

Opposition leader Kim Beazley also thanked those involved in helping release Mr Wood, including the Islamic community.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer confirmed a military operation took place but refused to reveal details of how or where it took place, for security reasons, speaking on the ABC’s 7.30 Report.

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