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WORLD
Iraq Transition

French hostage freed by military

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Bernard Planche

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A French humanitarian worker who had been held hostage in Iraq for more than a month was freed Saturday during a joint U.S.-Iraqi military operation, the military said.

Bernard Planche, who worked for AACCESS on water projects in the country, was being held in a farmhouse west of Baghdad.

Conducting a joint search operation in the area, U.S. and Iraqi military came upon the farmhouse, and Planche's captors fled, leaving him free to walk away.

Planche, a resident of Lyons, France, was kidnapped in Baghdad's Mansour neighborhood on December 5.

A group calling itself "Surveillance for Iraq" had threatened to kill him unless France ended its "illegitimate presence" in the country.

The French Foreign Ministry had been actively working to secure Planche's release.

France opposed the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, and has no troops in Iraq

Planche is currently being treated by a doctor at Camp Liberty in Baghdad, the military said.

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