New York, April 19, 2004—A Japanese freelance journalist abducted near Baghdad last week has been released.

Jumpei Yasuda, of the newspaper Tokyo Shimbun, and activist Nobutaka Watanabe were freed on Saturday, April 17, three days after they were abducted by an armed group outside Baghdad while driving to Abu Ghraib, west of the capital, to film a downed U.S. Apache helicopter. Both men were reported to be in good health.

In recent weeks, armed groups have abducted at least six journalists as part of a broader hostage-taking campaign against foreigners in Iraq. All of the journalists have been released, including three Czech journalists who were freed on Friday, April 16.