- The Washington Times - Friday, March 31, 2006

BAGHDAD — Jill Carroll’s kidnappers reportedly warned her before her release that she might be killed if she cooperated with the Americans or went to the Green Zone, saying it was infiltrated by insurgents.

The freelance writer for the Christian Science Monitor, who was freed Thursday and dropped off at a branch office of the Iraqi Islamic Party, was later escorted to the Green Zone by the U.S. military, the newspaper said yesterday.

Iraq was relatively calm yesterday, except for a mortar round that slammed into a street in northeastern Baghdad. It killed three women when shrapnel hit their home. Soldiers also discovered the bullet-riddled bodies of six men wearing handcuffs in western Baghdad, police said.

On the political front, Iraqi leaders trying to form a national unity government resumed talks yesterday after taking a few days off to consult with their political blocs over what powers the next prime minister would have over security issues.

Miss Carroll, 28, who was kidnapped Jan. 7 in Baghdad, said Thursday she was not harmed by her captors and that she did not know why she was released.

In a video purportedly from her kidnappers that was posted on the Internet, Miss Carroll is shown answering questions and saying that Iraqi insurgents were “only trying to defend their country … to stop an illegal and dangerous and deadly occupation.”

“So I think people need to understand in America how difficult life is here for the normal, average Iraqis … how terrifying it is for most people to live here every day because of the occupation,” she said on the video.

The Monitor’s editor, Richard Bergenheim, said yesterday Miss Carroll’s parents, who spoke to her about the video, told him it was “conducted under duress.”

“When you’re making a video and having to recite certain things with three men with machine guns standing over you, you’re probably going to say exactly what you’re told to say,” Mr. Bergenheim told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

In the video, Miss Carroll said her captors, whom she called the mujahideen, or holy warriors, had treated her very well — “like a guest” — and that she thought the “mujahideen are the ones who will win in the end in this war.”

She called on President Bush to send American troops home.

“He knows this war is wrong,” she said. “He knows it was illegal from the very beginning. He knows that it was built on a mountain of lies. I think he needs to finally admit to the American people and make the troops go home.”

The U.S. Embassy spokeswoman in Baghdad declined to comment on the video.

Miss Carroll’s captors, calling themselves the Revenge Brigades, had demanded the release of all female detainees in Iraq by Feb. 26 and said Miss Carroll would be killed otherwise.

In the video, the abductors said she was released because “the American government met some of our demands by releasing some of our women from prison.”

But U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said Thursday there was no connection between a recent release of several female Iraqi detainees and Miss Carroll’s release.

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