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BOY, 7, KIDNAPPED IN IRAQ IS RELEASED

A 7-year-old Lebanese boy, the youngest known foreign kidnapping victim in Iraq, said Friday after his release that his captors lured him into a car as he walked home from school by telling him his father had been hurt in an accident.

"I am very happy to be back home," Mohammed Hamad told the Associated Press.

His father, Abdel-Ghani Hamad, said he paid a ransom of $1,725. Initially the kidnappers demanded $150,000 from the elder Hamad, a Lebanese who has lived in Iraq for 32 years.

Mohammed was kidnapped Oct. 22 while headed home in Diyala province, east of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

He said a car full of men stopped next to him, and one passenger said: "Come with us. Your father was hit by a car, and we will take you home."

Instead he was taken to a house in the desert, where the kidnappers told him every day that the road was closed and he could not go home.

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