Abducted Malaysian journalists
released near Baghdad

Kuala Lumpur, April 14, IRNA -- The three Malaysian journalists who were abducted on Saturday outside Baghdad have been released unharmed while two doctors who were injured in the same ambush are under treatment in a local hospital.
The three--leading English-language daily New Straits Times photographer Annuar Hashim, The Sun reporter Terrence Fernandez and cameraman of the state-owned TV station RTM, Omar Salleh-- were abducted by a group of armed men.
The group also shot two doctors working with the Malaysian Medical Relief Society (Mercy).
Bernama news agency quoted Zukri Valenteno Ali, coordinator of the Joint Media Team Malaysia (JMTM) sent to cover the Iraq war, as saying that the journalists were traveling with the volunteers for a story on medical aid when the incident took place.
Acting Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the two doctors--Mercy President Dr Jemilah Mahmood and her colleague, Dr Baba Deani--were traveling in a van to the city to help victims of the war in Iraq.
Their Iraqi interpreter was shot dead by the gunmen while another interpreter managed to escape and inform the JMTM of the incident, added Abdullah.
The Malaysian Foreign and Information Ministries sent the 28 journalists from various local media organizations early this month to Iraq as part of a plan to get first-hand reporting on the war from Malaysian journalists rather than the "biased" Western media.
The JMTM contingent is led by New Straits Times editor Ahmad A. Talib.
Abdullah said the government would leave it to the JMTM secretariat in Amman to decide if the journalists should be withdrawn from Baghdad.
"They have to use their discretion because the situation there is changing very fast," Bernama quoted him as saying.
He further said that families of the injured doctors and employers of the journalists had been informed about the incidents.
In a related development, Defence Minister Najib Abdul Razak said he would discuss with Abdullah measures that may be taken to rescue abducted journalists and volunteers.
He said the government was prepared to evacuate the Malaysians from Iraq.