Three Christian activists were rescued today thanks to join efforts on the part of US and British troops:
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) — U.S. and British troops Thursday freed three Christian peace activists in rural Iraq without firing a shot, ending a four-month hostage drama in which an American among the group was shot to death and dumped on a Baghdad street.
Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, the U.S. military spokesman, said the hostages were being held by a “kidnapping cell,” and the operation to free the captives was based on information from a man captured by U.S. forces only three hours earlier.
No kidnappers were present when the troops broke into a house in western Baghdad. The captives’ hands were tied, Lynch said.
The Iraqi Interior Ministry said the captives were rescued northwest of Baghdad between the towns of Mishahda, 20 miles away from Baghdad, and the western suburb of Abu Ghraib, 12 miles away.
British officials in Baghdad said those freed were Canadians James Loney, 41, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, and Briton Norman Kember, 74. The men – members of the Chicago-based Christian Peacemaker Teams – were kidnapped Nov. 26 along with their American colleague, Tom Fox.
The body of Fox, 54, of Clear Brook, Va., was found earlier this month.
“We remember with tears Tom Fox,” group co-director Doug Pritchard said. “We had longed for the day when all four men would be released together. Our gladness today is bittersweet by the fact that Tom is not alive to join his colleagues in the celebration.”
The Christian Peacemaker Teams said the activists went to Iraq “motivated by a passion for justice and peace.” Group volunteers have been in Iraq since October 2002, investigating allegations of abuse against Iraqi detainees by coalition forces. Its teams promote peaceful solutions in conflict zones.
“They knew that their only protection was in the power of the love of God and of their Iraqi and international co-workers,” Pritchard said.
He also called for coalition forces to leave the country.
“We believe that the illegal occupation of Iraq by Multinational Forces is the root cause of the insecurity which led to this kidnapping and so much pain and suffering in Iraq,” Pritchard said.
There’s more than just a little irony in the fact that it was the “illegal occupiers” that this group opposes being there who rescued them.
As a Christian, it shames me to see fellow Christians who seem ungrateful towards the brave and courageous members of our military who rescued them. The spokespeople for this group could have at least put something on their website. Sheesh.
Here’s a way to thank the troops, even though others who should know better chose not to.