France dispatches plane to bring home hostages

22nd December 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Dec 22 (AFP) - A French air force 14-seater Falcon 900 was to leave early Wednesday from Villacoublay airbase in the Paris region to pick up two French hostages freed in Iraq, concurring sources said.

PARIS, Dec 22 (AFP) - A French air force 14-seater Falcon 900 was to leave early Wednesday from Villacoublay airbase in the Paris region to pick up two French hostages freed in Iraq, concurring sources said.

The aircraft was to take off around 8:00 am (0700 GMT) and return to the same base "late in the afternoon" with Christian Chesnot of Radio France Internationale and Georges Malbrunot of Le Figaro newspaper, the sources said.

The round-trip was expected to take around 10 hours, they added, without specifying the route.

The two were to be greeted by President Jacques Chirac and given a heroes' welcome on their return after a four-month ordeal.

Chesnot, 37, and Malbrunot, 41 - the longest-held Western hostages in Iraq- were seized on a road south of Baghdad on August 20.

They were released late Tuesday and spent the night in Baghdad.

The insurgency group that had been holding them, the Islamic Army in Iraq, said it had freed them because of France's stance against the US-led war in Iraq and their own support for Palestinian statehood, the Arabic television station Al-Jazeera reported.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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