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Iraqi forces release two Egyptian employees
Updated: 2004-12-19 17:04

Iraqi authorities released two Egyptians working for an Iraqi mobile phone company who were detained earlier this week by Iraqi and US troops, a diplomat said Sunday.

Farouk Riyadh Mabrouk, head of the Egyptian diplomatic mission in Baghdad, said the two men _ who are employed by Iraqna, which belongs Egyptian telecommunications giant, Orascom _ were turned over to Egyptian authorities late Saturday.

When asked why the men were seized by Iraqi and US troops from their Baghdad home on Wednesday, Mabrouk would only say"The released men, employed to provide security services for Iraqna, remained in Baghdad, according to Mabrouk, who said he did not know if they planned to return to Egypt.

During the late night raid on their Baghdad home, US and Iraqi forces also seized thousands of US dollars, 15 personal computers and a range of communications equipment.

US and Iraqi authorities have not commented on why the men were detained.

Several Orascom employees were kidnapped by militants in September and released about a month later.

Orascom has said that despite the kidnappings, the company is committed to continuing its work in Iraq.

Insurgents in Iraq have kidnapped more than 170 foreigners in their campaign to drive out coalition forces and hamper reconstruction. At least 30 have been killed.

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