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Iraq Transition

Rescue mission raises hopes for abducted journalist

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Freelance journalist Jill Carroll was kidnapped in January while on assignment in Baghdad.

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The rescue of three Western aid workers in Iraq raised hopes among friends and family of kidnapped American journalist Jill Carroll, who has been missing for 11 weeks.

"Although their case is unrelated to Jill's, their release gives us new hope that Jill, too, will soon be freed," Carroll's family told The Christian Science Monitor, the newspaper for which she was a freelance writer.

"We send our best wishes to these three men and their families, knowing that their reunion will be a joyful one." (Watch how it took only three hours to mount a rescue raid -- 2:41)

Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, also said Thursday that "we're focused on releasing the remaining hostages, particularly Jill Carroll."

Carroll, 28, was kidnapped in Baghdad on January 7 and has appeared in hostage videos sent to Arab television stations.

Her abductors, a group calling itself Brigades of Vengeance, said they will kill Carroll if the United States does not release all women it has detained in Iraq. (Watch how Jill Carroll's fate has moved strangers to e-mail prayers -- 2:29)

On Thursday, a coalition military operation in Baghdad freed three Westerners -- Briton Norman Kember, 74, and Canadians Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, and James Loney, 41 -- who were members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams aid group abducted on November 26. (Full story)

A fourth abductee, American Tom Fox, 54, was found dead on a Baghdad street on March 9.

Christian Peacemaker Teams said in a statement Thursday that "we will continue to lift Jill Carroll up in our prayers for her safe return."

The Boston, Massachusetts-based Christian Science Monitor says it is doing everything it can to win Carroll's release. Among its efforts, the paper produced public service announcements for airing on Iraqi TV.

The journalist's case has moved Muslims and non-Muslims around the world to call for her freedom.

The paper has received 2,300 letters and e-mails urging Carroll's release from places as far flung as Cambodia, Germany, Jordan, Switzerland and Sweden.

One of the groups working on her behalf is Reporters Without Borders, a journalism watchdog group.

On the third anniversary of the Iraq war this week, representatives from Reporters Without Borders and The Christian Science Monitor helped unveil large photos of Carroll and two kidnapped Iraqi journalists at Place de la Nation in Paris, France.

Last month, Iraqi Interior Minister Bayan Jabr reportedly said he believed Carroll might still be alive and that Iraq's government had information about her location. (Full story)

On February 9, she appeared in a video shown on Kuwait's Alrai Television, saying she was unhurt but urging the United States to meet her captors' demands quickly.

On the day she was kidnapped, Carroll, who has been reporting from the Middle East for three years, was planning to meet with Iraqi politician Adnan al-Dulaimi for an interview in Baghdad, but he was not there, according to The Christian Science Monitor, which later interviewed her driver.

As Carroll, her driver and an interpreter attempted to leave, their vehicle was stopped by the insurgents, the paper reported. (Full story)

The driver escaped the abduction unharmed. The interpreter, Allan Enwiyah, 32, was found dead nearby, shot twice in the head, the newspaper said, citing law enforcement officials.

CNN's Dan Lothian and Cal Perry contributed to this report

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