Followers of Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr freed an American former soldier on Saturday after holding him captive in Baghdad for nine months.
The American, identified as Randy Michaels, was shown on television in a U.S. military uniform with no insignia, flanked by two members of parliament from Sadr's movement, including the parliament's first deputy speaker.
The lawmakers described him as an American soldier, but Michaels said he was a former service member working in a civilian capacity at the time he was captured, last June.
He said he had been held by the Yom al-Maoud, or Promised Day Brigade, an offshoot of Sadr's Mehdi Army militia which remained armed after Sadr disbanded most Mehdi Army units in 2008.
"I was taken inside Baghdad and have been kept in and around different locations within the city by al-Maoud. It was explained to me that my release has been for humanitarian purposes and there was no exchange involved," he said in remarks shown on Iraq's Bagdadiya television.
The Pentagon has said none of its serving troops are believed to be held in Iraq since last month when it recovered the remains of the last missing soldier.
Maha al-Douri, a lawmaker from Sadr's bloc said: "We declare the release of the American soldier, Randy Michaels, without any compensation, according to the instructions of Moqtada al-Sadr, as a gift from him to the soldier's family and to his people, and to correct the image of Islam."
Qusay al-Souhail, deputy parliament speaker, said the leadership of the Promised Day Brigade had made the decision to free their captive in light of the confirmation that U.S. troops had withdrawn from Iraq.
The Sadr officials said Michaels had been turned over to the U.N. mission in Baghdad. A spokeswoman for the mission declined to comment. The U.S. embassy could not immediately be reached and U.S. officials in Washington were not immediately available for comment.
Nine years after the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, the United States withdrew its forces from Iraq in December, with the exception of a few hundred service members stationed as part of the "diplomatic mission" at its embassy.
The U.S. mission still includes 2,000 diplomats and, as of last year, 14,000 civilian contractors. The embassy says the number of contractors has declined since then but does not release updated figures.
Spokesman says US president maintains belief illegal ballots cost him popular vote despite lack of evidence
In the appeal, Serbian Federation claimed that accepting the Football Federation of Kosovo in UEFA was illegal and violated the rules.
Sigmar Gabriel, 57, who currently serves as vice chancellor and economy minister in Merkel's government, revealed the decision in media interviews, saying his chances of victory would be dismal.
Jammeh's defiance prompted more than 76,000 people to seek shelter in Senegal, the UN refugee agency said, citing Senegalese authorities.
Bulgaria's new president on Tuesday called for an early national election for March 26 and appointed former parliament speaker Ognyan Gerdzhikov as caretaker prime minister until then.
Other big companies as well as Lockheed have been slammed by the new president for offshoring US jobs.
Muhammadu Buhari insists Ibrahim Magu be confirmed as head of anti-corruption drive
Donald Trump paves way for contruction of North Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil projects
Apart from the German-led battalion in Lithuania, Canada will lead a multi-national battalion in Latvia, Britain in Estonia and the US in Poland.
The aircraft manufacturer employs a total of 15,000 people in Britain, including sites at Filton in southwest England and Broughton in north Wales, designing and manufacturing wings.
Jerusalem’s Muslim Endowments Authority blasts increasingly frequent visits to Al-Aqsa by Jewish extremists
A State Department official and several congressional aides said the outgoing administration formally notified Congress it would spend the money Friday morning.
Turkish president Erdogan visits Mozambique, the 2nd stop of his SE Africa tour
Escorted by 80 German police officers, their plane landed shortly after 7.30 am (0300 GMT) -- the second batch to be deported under a disputed Afghan-EU deal signed last October and aimed at curbing the influx of migrants.
Thousands of Arab-Israelis converge on Bedouin village that was target of recent home demolitions