Richard Butler Rescued In Basra

BAGHDAD — A kidnapped British journalist was rescued by Iraqi troops on Monday after two months in captivity in the southern city of Basra, a military commander said.

Richard Butler, who worked for CBS News, was found with a sack over his head and his hands tied inside a house in Basra, Lt. Gen. Mohan al-Fireji said. He said Butler was in good condition.

Butler was found during an Iraqi military sweep in the Jibiliya area, a Shiite militia stronghold in Basra, 340 miles southeast of Baghdad.

Defense ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Askari said that an army patrol conducting a search came under fire from the house where Butler was being held. One of the gunmen was wounded in an exchange of fire and another captured while two men managed to escape, he said.

Butler was later shown on Iraqi state television laughing and greeting his rescuers.

“Thank you and I’m looking forward to seeing my family and my friends at CBS and thank you again,” Butler told al-Askari.

He described the soldiers’ performance as “brilliant.”

“The Iraqi army stormed the house and overcame my guards and they burst through the door,” Butler said. “I had my hood on which I had to have on all the time and they shouted something at me and I pulled my hood off.”

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