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British Hostage Released in Iraq


British Foreign Secretary David Miliband says a British man held hostage in Iraq for more than two years has been released.

Miliband says Peter Moore, a technology consultant who was kidnapped in Baghdad in May 2007, was released Wednesday and is in good health. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he was relieved to know that Moore would be reunited with his family.

Militants disguised as Iraqi policemen abducted Moore and his four British bodyguards outside the Iraqi Finance Ministry in Baghdad. A militant group called the League of the Righteous said it was behind the kidnappings.

The bodies of three of the bodyguards have been returned to Britain. The British foreign secretary says the fourth bodyguard also is believed to be dead.

Moore's release coincided with the U.S. military's transfer of several prisoners to the Iraqi government. Officials say a leader of the League of the Righteous, Qais al-Khazali, was among those handed ove

British officials denied a connection between Moore's release and the prisoner transfer. Miliband said Moore's captors freed him as part of Iraq's process of national reconciliation that is seeking to bring together sectarian groups in the country.

In other news, Iraqi police say a double suicide bomb attack in the western city of Ramadi killed 23 people and wounded the provincial governor on Wednesday.

Police say the bombings appeared to target senior officials of Iraq's Anbar province, of which Ramadi is the capital. They say the attack began with a suicide car bombing on a road near the offices of Anbar's governor, Qassim Mohammed al-Fahdawi.

Police say when Fahdawi went to inspect the blast damage, a suicide bomber on foot detonated explosives that wounded the governor and killed his deputy police commander.

U.S. forces flew Fahdawi to Baghdad for medical treatment. Officials blamed the attack on al-Qaida and its allies.

Meanwhile, authorities say an explosion killed seven people and wounded at least 24 others in the town of Khalis, 80 kilometers north of Baghdad.

The attack targeted Shi'ite worshipers who were taking part in ceremonies to mark the solemn holiday of Ashura, which culminated Sunday.

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