Hopes have been raised that British IT contractor Peter Moore may soon be free after a two year kidnap ordeal in Iraq.
The US military have freed a senior Shia militia leader, Laith al-Khazali, one of the demands of Moore's kidnappers in return for the release of Moore and his four bodyguards who have been held captive since May 29, 2007.
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The US is also expected to hand over his brother Qais al-Khazali, the leader of the kidnapping group Asaib al-Haq, to the Iraqi government in the next five days, despite his suspected links to a bomb attack on a US military base in 2007 which killed five American soldiers.
The Asaib al-Haq group is said to have agreed to renounce violence and join the Iraqi political process, which prompted the US and UK governments to agree to a "hostage exchange" process which they would not normally do. The Iraqi government has told Asaib al-Haq that it cannot join the political process while it holds hostages, and said to the US government that the group could not be expected to renounce violence while its leaders were still in prison.
Mr Moore was working for US consultancy firm BearingPoint at the time of his capture. His father Graeme told the Independent he was please but not taking anything for granted. He said, "This is obviously very exciting news. We have always been told that Peter may be the first one to be released. I heard this afternoon that this may take place within two days. The problem is that we have heard on several occasions in the past that a deal had been done and my son and the others were going to be freed but then this never happened."