Peter Moore was captured in May 2007 by gunmen in “government uniforms” at the Iraqi finance ministry in Baghdad. The 36-year-old British citizen has been released after 900+ days in captivity. Iraqi officials say they were taken by surprise when Moore was handed over to Iraqi authorities last Wednesday, but it is possible Moore’s release was actually an exchange deal for a Shia cleric, Qais al-Khazali (Qais Qazali), being handed over by Americans to Iraqi’s in exchange for Moore. General David Petraeus says Moore was ‘certainly’ held in Iran for at least a portion of his captivity. See a video below. See updates below.
General Petraeus’ statement differs from the British assessment of Moore’s imprisonment:
As reports said Moore was on his way back to Britain from Iraq, Petraeus told a press conference in Baghdad: “I am on the record as
having said that our intelligence assessment is that he certainly spent
part of the time, at the very least, in Iran.”
The statement puts
US intelligence at odds with the British Foreign Office, which today
continued to insist there was no evidence that Moore had been held in
Al-Khazali is believed to have been responsible for Moore’s capture along with
His release also came three months after dozens of members of the Leagues of
Righteousness, a Shia militia group blamed for the kidnappings, were
released from prison in Iraq.
But Mr Miliband denied that a deal was done with Mr Moore’s captors. He said
the release was enabled by Iraq’s “process of national reconciliation”.
Four British security guards were taken with Moore. The bodies of three of them were returned to Britain earlier in 2009. The fourth guard, Alan McMenemy, 34 from Glasgow, is still missing. His family has been told “it is very likely he has died.”
Read the story here.
More about the release of Qais al-Khazali (Qais Qazali) by Bill Roggio, writing for The Weekly Standard Blog:
Qais Qazli wasn’t just some run of the mill Shia thug; his group is
backed by Iran. Qazali’s men were trained by Iranian Qods Force to
infiltrate and assault the Provincial Joint Coordination Center in
Karbala in January 2007. Five US soldiers were killed during the
kidnapping attempt. The US soldiers were executed after US and Iraqi
security forces closed in on the assault team.
The attack on the Karbala Provincial Joint Coordination Center was a
complex, sophisticated operation. The assault team, led by tactical
commander Azhar al Dulaimi (who was later killed by the US military),
was trained in a mock-up of the center that was built in Iran. The unit
had excellent intelligence and received equipment that made them appear
to be US soldiers. Some of the members of the assault team are said to
have spoken English. They drove SUVs that looked like ones used by US
Al-Qaeda…released and free to kill again! This from Roggio’s Long War Journal:
“We let a very dangerous man go, a man whose hands are stained with US
and Iraqi blood,” a military officer said. “We are going to pay for
this in the future.