US Freed Iraqi Insurgent for Brit Hostage

Iranian involvement suspected in Moore's abduction
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2009 5:22 AM CST
A bus is decorated with a banner showing Qais al-Khazali in Baghdad.   (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
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(Newser) – Yesterday's release of British hostage Peter Moore two years after he was kidnapped in Iraq was secured by the transfer of an Iraqi Shia insurgent leader with strong ties to Iran. Qais al-Khazali—suspected of planning an attack that killed five US soldiers—has been shifted from US to Iraqi custody and will soon be freed under a reconciliation deal between the Iraq government and former insurgents, the Times of London reports.

Some of Khazali's followers had already been freed in return for the bodies of Moore's British guards. Khazali is seen as a rising star among militant Shias and is widely expected to play a major role in Iraqi politics after his release. His Righteous League group is backed by the Iranian military. Unconfirmed reports say the Iranians were involved in Moore's kidnapping and moved him across the border soon after he and his guards were abducted in Iraq in May 2007.

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