WASHINGTON, Aug. 31, 2006 – Bastogne soldiers of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, freed a kidnap victim and captured three of the terrorists who had taken him hostage just outside Kirkuk, Iraq, yesterday, military officials reported. An aerial reconnaissance team flying missions near Kirkuk spotted four men wearing black robes and wielding AK-47 rifles. The men stopped their sedan several times along one of the area's main roads and set up illegal checkpoints at each stop.
As coalition ground forces moved into the area, the group made their last stop, holding 10 passengers in a van at gunpoint before pulling one of the men out of the vehicle. The four then forced the man into the trunk of their car and sped away. As Bastogne soldiers on the ground were moving in on the vehicle, the sedan stopped, allowing one of the terrorists to get out of the vehicle. The remaining group continued to a nearby building where they jumped out of their car and ran into the building, taking their victim with them.
A team of Bastogne soldiers deployed by helicopter to the area and quickly moved into the building, capturing the three assailants and freeing the hostage. A careful search of the building revealed three AK-47 rifles and several magazines, as well as a barrel filled with ammunition. The freed hostage is the third Iraqi citizen rescued from the hands of kidnappers by Task Force Band of Brothers soldiers this month, officials said.