Peter Moore, the only known survivor from five British hostages in Iraq, has been released in Baghdad.
The computer programmer was captured in the Iraqi capital in 2007 by Shia militants with four other Britons and spent 31 months in captivity. The bodies of all but one of the others have since been returned to Britain.
Moore, aged 39, was released to Iraqi officials this morning and then transferred to the British embassy in Baghdad. A young Shia cleric, Qais al-Ghazali, held by the US military, was being handed over for release to the Iraqi government in exchange, officials said.
Moore's captors called the Iraqi government early this morning and said they were willing to free him in east Baghdad. The hardline Islamic group known as the Righteous League had insisted on trading Moore for Ghazali, who was captured near Basra by the SAS along with his brother Laith al-Ghazali and a senior member of Lebanese Hezbollah in March 2007.
Moore's father, Graeme, 60, from Wigston, Leicestershire, said he was
"over the moon"at the news.
"We are so relieved and we just want to get him home, back now to his
family and friends. I'm breaking down, I'm just so overjoyed for the lad. It's
been such a long haul. I know that there have been one or two people working in
the background to get Peter released.
"Peter is a very resilient lad and he always has been because of his
background … but I don't know how close he was to those others who have been
Graeme Moore said he felt the Foreign Office had been 'obstructive' in the effort to secure his son's safe release.