A kidnapped British journalist working for CBS and his translator are to be freed "within hours," according to the office of radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Sadrists conducted negotiations with the kidnappers, who took the two hostage at gunpoint from a hotel in Basra, AFP reports. The captives have not been identified, but the journalist's wife said, "We are praying for him to be safe."
The kidnappers agreed to hand over the Iraqi interpreter to the police command in Basra and the journalist to al-Sadr's office, said a spokesman for the cleric. Basra, a province riven by turf wars between the Sadrists and a rival Shiite militia, was under British administration until mid-December, when it returned to Iraqi control.