How to Free A Hostage

Kidnapping foreigners is a booming business in Iraq, but there is a science to winning their release

As violence raged in several Sunni towns west of Baghdad on April 8, Mohammed Rifat steered his green Jeep Cherokee out of the gates of Abu Ghraib prison, where he worked as a construction foreman for a Kellogg Brown & Root subcontractor. Rifat, 41, who returned to Iraq in February after 24 years in Toronto, was heading home to care for his aging mother. He never made it. Somewhere in the night, his family believes, kidnappers stopped his vehicle and spirited him away. This is everyone's worst nightmare in the new Iraq. A bewildering variety of groups--some seeking money, some pushing...

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