3 Americans Kidnapped in Iraq Have Been Freed, Officials Say

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Three American contractors who were kidnapped by an armed group in southern Baghdad last month have been freed, two Iraqi security officials and a U.S. official said Tuesday.

Iraqi security forces inspect a car at a checkpoint on the main road from Baghdad's central Jaderiyah district to Dora on the southern outskirts of the Iraqi capital on January 18, 2016. US and Iraqi authorities were searching for three missing Americans said to have been kidnapped in southern Baghdad, the latest group of foreign nationals abducted in recent months. (Credit: SABAH ARAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Iraqi security forces inspect a car at a checkpoint on the main road from Baghdad’s central Jaderiyah district to Dora on the southern outskirts of the Iraqi capital on January 18, 2016. US and Iraqi authorities were searching for three missing Americans said to have been kidnapped in southern Baghdad, the latest group of foreign nationals abducted in recent months. (Credit: SABAH ARAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Elements of the Iraqi intelligence apparatus freed the three, the officials said. Further details about their release weren’t immediately available.

Gunmen kidnapped the three, whose identities have not been released, on January 15 while the trio visited a home in Dora, a neighborhood in southern Baghdad, Iraqi officials said.

An organized crime gang was believed to be behind the abductions, Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi told reporters in Baghdad on January 21.

The U.S. State Department earlier said it was aware that Americans were reported missing in Iraq.