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Kidnapped polish woman freed

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Kidnapped Polish woman freed in Iraq
Former hostage returns to Warsaw, says she was 'treated well'

Teresa Borcz-Khalifa, who was abducted last month in Baghdad, speaks at a press conference in Warsaw Saturday, after being freed from captivity.

The Associated Press
Updated: 11:01 a.m. ET Nov. 20, 2004

WARSAW, Poland - A Polish woman who was abducted last month from her apartment in Baghdad was freed and back in the Polish capital on Saturday.

The former hostage, Teresa Borcz Khalifa, appeared before journalists in Warsaw but would not say how she was freed or give any details.

"It was a very joyous moment for me," the 54-year-old Khalifa said, looking tired but smiling. "I feel well, very well."

Prime Minister Marek Belka introduced Borcz Khalifa, saying only that she arrived back in Warsaw the night before and refusing to give further details, citing security concerns. "Borcz has been freed. She's here and healthy," he said. "Officials of different services took part in her release in cooperation with institutions from many countries."

Borcz Khalifa was shown in captivity in videos aired on Al-Jazeera on Oct. 28 and Oct. 30. Her captors, calling themselves, the Abu Bakr al-Siddiq Fundamentalist Brigades, demanded the withdrawal of Polish troops from Iraq.

Still, Borcz Khalifa -- who had lived in Iraq since the 1970s and holds dual Polish-Iraqi citizenship -- said she was treated well by her captors. "They treated me decently -- I was well fed," she said.

She did not give details of her captors or say where she was held. However, she recalled that "the abduction was very quick -- it was very well organized."

Polish leaders repeatedly ruled out a troop pullout. Poland commands a security force of some 6,000 troops from 15 nations, including some 2,400 Poles, in central Iraq.

Her release came days after officials said they believed another woman hostage, Briton Margaret Hassan, had been killed by her captors. More than 170 foreigners have been kidnapped in Iraq this year, eight of them women. At least 34 hostages have been killed.

2004 The Associated Press.

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