Australian Hostage Rescued In Iraq


Douglas Wood, the Australian hostage was rescued this morning following a military operation according to the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard.

Australian hostage Douglas Wood has been rescued in a military operation in Iraq, Prime Minister John Howard says.

“I am delighted to inform the House that the Australian hostage in Iraq, Mr Douglas Wood, is safe,” Mr Howard told Parliament.

“Mr Wood was recovered a short while ago in Baghdad in a military operation that I am told was conducted by Iraqi forces in cooperation in a general way with force elements of the United States.”

This is tremendous news from a situation that looked rather grim at times. News of the release has the family on cloud nine. What a fantastic outcome to a very difficult situation.

A spokesman for the Wood family, Neil Smail, says the family is “elated”.

“The family is delighted that Douglas is now free,” he said. “It’s been a really horrifying ordeal for him.”

Mr Smail says the family wants to thank the Australian Government, as well as agencies in Iraq and Sydney-based Muslim cleric Sheikh Taj El-Din Al-Hilaly for their efforts in trying to free the engineer.

“The family is greatly relieved and it really does appreciate all the work that’s been done toward his release,” Mr Smail said.

According to Fox News the rescue took place as part of “Operation Lightning“.

The raid took place as part of Operation Lightning — a broader counterinsurgency operation that began in Baghdad on May 29, Warner said. He added there “was specific intelligence and tips that provided a hint at what might be found at that location.”

Wood was freed by the Iraqi army’s 2nd battalion, 1st Armored Brigade, with assistance by U.S. forces in Ghazaliya — one of the most dangerous Sunni Arab neighborhood of Baghdad, Warner said. He added that “no ransom was paid” despite a request for a “very large” amount of money.

Wood was found under a blanket and the insurgents told troops he was their sick father, said Gen. Naseer al-Abadi, Iraq’s deputy chief of staff. The operation also resulted in the arrest of three insurgents and release of an Iraqi hostage.

Posted June 15, 2005 by
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