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3 Americans kidnapped in Iraq have been freed, officials say

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Three American contractors who were kidnapped by an armed group in southern Baghdad last month have been freed, two Iraqi security officials and a U.S. official said Tuesday.

Elements of the Iraqi intelligence apparatus freed the three, the officials said. Further details about their release weren’t immediately available.

Gunmen kidnapped the three, whose identities have not been released, on January 15 while the trio visited a home in Dora, a neighborhood in southern Baghdad, Iraqi officials said.

An organized crime gang was believed to be behind the abductions, Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi told reporters in Baghdad on January 21.

The U.S. State Department earlier said it was aware that Americans were reported missing in Iraq.

CNN’s Jason Hanna and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

By Hamdi Alkhshali and Barbara Starr