Iraq’s civilian spokesman for Baghdad security was released from captivity Monday. Professor Tahseen al-Sheikhli, who was kidnapped a few days ago, was found unharmed, except for his ego.


Sheikhli was kidnapped from his home in the Amin area of south-west Baghdad on Thursday. The Baghdad security crackdown, backed by thousands of extra US troops, was launched a year ago by the government to reduce violence that was threatening to tear the country apart.

Meanwhile, the spike in violence in Shia areas of southern Iraq and Baghdad has yet to alter US plans to withdraw more combat forces this spring, the defence secretary, Robert Gates, said yesterday [Monday].

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