Nine hostages freed, clerics' group says

The Associated PressApril 12, 2004 

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Insurgents have released nine hostages of various nationalities, including Turks and Pakistanis, said a spokesman for Islamic clerics who appealed for the releases.

The spokesman said he had no word on three Japanese civilians still being held.

"We believe that nine were released last night or today," said Muthanna Harith, spokesman for Islamic Clerics Committee. "We know nothing about the Japanese."

Eight of the nine hostages appeared in a video broadcast Sunday on the Arab satellite television network Al-Jazeera. The eight included two Turks, three Pakistanis, a Nepalese, a Filipino and an Indian. The nationality of the ninth was not immediately known.

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