Jill is released!!

Jill Carroll and Natasha TynesWe have received word that Jill has been released. The Italian News Agency, ANSA (in Italian), which Jill used to work for, is reporting that Jill was released about one hour ago (here "roughly" translated from the Italian), that’s around 5:00 am EST. The news is now percolating down into the news agencies. We are making contacts and verifying this information. More updates will come as we know them.

UPDATE: We now have confirmation of this release from the Christian Science Monitor team. We are both still stunned by this tremendous news. All the prayers and good wishes have been answered. We are simply overwhelmed by this amazing, fantastic, tremendously wonderful news!!

UPDATE 2: The US Embassy in Baghdad has been unable to confirm her release but the CSM is reporting that she has talked to her family, confirming her release: "She was released this morning, she’s talked to her father and she’s fine," said David Cook, Washington bureau chief of The Christian Science Monitor.

UPDATE 3: The US military cannot confirm that Jill is inside Baghdad’s noted "Green zone," the protected inner sanctum, or at least they are hesitant to say anything until they can confirm she is safe and protected. It is notable that she is reported to have been "released" but not "rescued," meaning a group — the group — decided to release her. Was it Katie’s statement? Who knows, but the timing seems to suggest as much. Meanwhile, the phone is ringing off the hook with interview requests. Everyone is just overwhelmed as we do our best to get our head around all of this. To all of you calling us, we’d really like for the family to be given a chance to digest this and to make an official statement. As for us, we are absolutely overwhelmed, ecstatic … over the moon with joy!

UPDATE 4: Word is now that Jill is inside the Green Zone and is being given a health checkup. Jill has apparently made a statement saying she was unsure why she was abducted but that she was treated well by her captors. The State Department is now weighing in, confirming her release, with a spokesperson saying: "I can confirm her release. This is great news…we are very pleased." Jill was handed over to the Iraqi Islamic Party office in Amiriya, western Baghdad, by an unknown group, "She is healthy and we handed her over to the Americans," Nasir al-Ani, a party member, told The Associated Press. Shout it from the rooftops: Jill is FREE!!

UPDATE 5: Jill’s father appeared on NBC News and made a statement: "We are thrilled and relieved at the safe return of my daughter," he said on the "Today" show. "We want to thank the thousands of people that prayed and especially the people at The Christian Science Monitor who did so much to keep her alive." You’ll have to excuse us, but we’re going to take a breather now, our hearts are about to explode!

UPDATE 6: Jill spoke briefly to Baghdad television, apparently operated by the Iraqi Islamic Party, after her health checkup. During the interview, she said: "I’m just happy to be free. I want to be with my family … I felt I was not free. It was difficult because I didn’t know what would happen to me." She said she had been kept in a furnished room with a window and a shower, but she had no idea where she was. She also said she was allowed to watch TV and read a newspaper, once each.

She appeared very strong and pointed out that she was not harmed, telling the Associated Press that her captors "never hit me and never even threatened to hit me." Jill had no idea why they let her go though, saying: "They just came to me and said we’re going. They didn’t tell me what was going on." Dr. Tariq Al-hashmi, leader of the Sunni Iraqi Islamic Party, said he had helped get Jill released, according to an Iraqi Interior Ministry official.

UPDATE 7: Jill’s family has released a wonderful statement following Jill’s release:

Jill speaks to the media after her releaseOur hearts are full. We are elated by Jill’s safe release. We would like to thank all of the generous people around the world who worked officially or unofficially, especially those who took personal risks, to gain Jill’s release. We are also very grateful for the support of the Iraqi people, who have shown the world a deep compassion for Jill’s situation, and members of the press in Baghdad.

Finally, we cannot say enough about the outstanding staff at The Christian Science Monitor, who provided us information and emotional support from the very start of this harrowing experience.

Our priority now, of course, is helping Jill to recover from her ordeal. We ask that the media respect our privacy and desire to focus on Jill’s well-being. When we feel the time is appropriate, we will release more details about her experience. Finally, our thoughts are with the families of others still being held hostage in Iraq, and we hope that their loved ones will soon return safely to them.

~ Katie, Jim, Mary Beth — and Jill — Carroll

UPDATE 8: The CSM has also issued a statement, saying: "Uncountable have been the cumulative prayers and pleas, the messages of support and tears of concern shed for Jill Carroll over the past three months. Today, we cry tears of joy for her release." They also make the very important point that Jill’s release should not be an end, but rather a means towards the release of all the others held against their will. "Anyone who is being held captive, out of any willful passion or purpose, should be freed. Those who kidnapped before and after Jill must have their freedom, too. In fact, even kidnappers themselves deserve freedom from a kind of imprisonment their lives represent." See here for more.

UPDATE 9: Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice made a statement while in Germany regarding Jill’s release, telling reporters that it was with "great delight and great relief of the United States, the people of the United States and, I’m sure, the people of the world at the release today of Jill Carroll … This is something that people have across the world worked for and prayed for and I think we are all very pleased and happy to hear of her release." And the Italian News Agency ANSA, who were the first we heard of to break the good news in print, has invited Jill to stop by. Jill worked for ANSA as a freelancer for a good while when she was in Iraq. It’s nice to see them give her such a warm reception. "You deserve to see Rome now, stupendous with the colours of spring. We look forward to seeing you here," said ANSA editor-in-chief Pierluigi Magnaschi.

UPDATE 10: It looks like a world of folks are weighing in on her release. Even President Bush got in on things saying: "I’m really grateful she was released and thank those who worked hard for her release, and we’re glad she’s alive." There’s a full accounting of all the reactions on CNN.

UPDATE 11: A little bit more about Jill’s release has trickled in and more is sure to be known in due time. In her taped interview she said: "They just came to me this morning and told me they will release me." Apparently she was dropped off, perhaps by her abductors, near the Iraqi Islamic Party offices in Baghdad, where she walked in and identified herself as "Jill Carroll." She then gave them a note written in Arabic that apparently asked the group to help. It then appears that she was moved into the party’s main compound where she made a few phone calls to the embassy and to her family before she was interviewed by the group for Baghdad TV and a strange "ceremony" took place. What is not clear is whether Jill felt that she was free at this point, being put yet again in front of a camera by strangers rather than given a doctor or taken to her friends.

51 thoughts on “Jill is released!!”

  1. What fantastic news, you must be so relieved to receive this news. Your prayers have been answered.

  2. A happy day at last.
    Your blog really gave a personal view of this ordeal. Thanks for that.

  3. This is such good news ! Mabrook !
    Congratulations on your efforts !
    I hope she has a wonderful easter with her family and loved ones !
    Ya3teekee il 3afye Natasha !

  4. Hey Natasha, its Rana- we met at jordan embassy DC.
    couldn’t find ur number to call u personally and congratulate you on the news. You sure kept me updated with her situation the whole time and thank God she is safe and lucky to have friends like you and others who prayed for her! I am deeply touched by the wonderful news and can’t imagine how happy you are! we should plan her a welcome back party!

  5. CNN Breaking news ,American hostage Jill Carroll, kidnapped in Iraq January 7, has been released, the FBI and The Christian Science Monitor say.
    Mubarak for her safety and as a father ,I congratulate her parents with great sympathy

  6. happy day!!
    thank you SO much for keeping us posted. I have been sharing excerpts from your blog on my own!
    We share in your happiness. Can you even imagine the reunion Jill will have with her family!!

  7. to everyone around the world who work so hard thank you!!!!
    to Jill – welcome, peace and rest!!!
    to Jill’s family, my joyous wishes!!!!
    when hope was a foolish thing,
    hope springs eternal
    we can only pray
    the momentum is not lost
    extend this joy this week
    this month this year
    to the others not yet here

  8. Jill Carroll is Free

    Ive been awaiting the end this saga with some trepidation and am relieved to relay the best-case scenario!
    American reporter Jill Carroll was set free Thursday, nearly three months after she was kidnapped in an ambush that killed her transl…

  9. Natasha,
    This is a great morning. I am ecstatic that your friend has been released.
    Humanity wins today.
    – Mash

  10. It is rare for me to wake up early in the morning and listen to the 7 o’clock news on NPR, let alone listen to such good news.
    Certainly the best thing I have heard on the news for a long time.

  11. Woke up this morning and my dad looks over to me and tells me in arabic about her release, I was like what did you just say? Then he says in English “Your friend Jill was released”. I was just shocked to hear such wonderful news. I then head over to the TV and hear the end of the press release by Jill’s parents. I was awestruck and it’s absolutely amazing. I am just so happy for everyone involved.

  12. “this amazing, fantastic, tremendously wonderful news!!”
    “absolutely overwhelmed, ecstatic … over the moon with joy!”
    “Shout it from the rooftops: Jill is FREE!!”
    What wonderful news! We’re ecstatic, but as your quotes above say, you’ve said it best.

  • Jennifer London (Sweeney HHS Class of 1993)

    I woke in tears today as I heard the news of Jill’s release. I am so very happy. It was a sad time for all us Alumni at Huron High School that attended school with Jill and Curtis Howard (he was killed recently in Iraq) I rememeber both Jill and her sister very well and I remember having classes with both of them! Jill is just as wonderful today as she was back in the halls of Huron! Once a River Rat always a STRONG POWERFUL one! Jill, if you read this, You were always in my thoughts and prayers from the moment that news was spread of your capture. I am soooo glad you are going to be home and are safe! God Bless You Sweetheart.
    ~Much Love and Peace To You~
    Jennifer London (Sweeney) Ann Arbor Huron High School Class of 1993~

  • Jill Carroll is free, alive, and well!

    American journalist Jill Carroll, who was abucted in Iraq nearly 100 days ago, is free. Link. David Cook, Washington bureau chief of The Christian Science Monitor: “She was released this morning, she’s talked to her father and she’s fine.” Link. Best …

  • American Hostage Jill Carroll Free (Updated)

    American journalist Jill Carroll has been freed by her captors. This post will be updated throughout the day. Jill Carroll had been held hostage for nearly three months by a terrorist organization calling itself ‘The Revenge Brigades’. The group killed…

  • Natasha, I am personally grateful for your blog keeping the world informed of Jill’s ordeal. Knowing that you are a personal friend, I knew that I could come to your site to find the latest truth. Mainstream media has things so twisted to their agenda’s that I find myself questioning all that they say.
    We are ecstatic that Jill is safe!!

  • This was the best news i have woken up to… Jill can’t wait to meet you. our prayer have been answered. Now… just help us answer some questions we have about Allen Enwiya…An amazing person who’s family prayed for you and think about you.
    Allen’s cousin….

  • I have been following Jill’s news on your blog. This is great news and I am so happy for Jill, for her family and for the human race.
    Finally something good happening that brings joy, and shows the world is not hopelessly bad.

  • Such wonderful news! I am SOOO glad Jill is free. What a weight lifted off so many people’s shoulders. I know Jill, but know her sister Katie better-her family has been incredibly strong during all of this.
    Natasha, many thanks for your wonderful blog – I’ve been reading it since this all started and have gained a much better idea of not only Jill’s situation, but also the region as a whole thanks to you- I will continue to visit the blog long after this is over! Thank you!

  • Hi there Natasha – just wanted to drop you a line to say I am so happy for you, I know how close this issue was to your heart and how important Jill is to you. I am happy for Jill and her family as well, and hope you continue to update us as she hopefully gets back safe and sound and thrives after recovering from her ordeal.

  • Praise God! His mercy endures forever, she is safe, unharmed physically. Wow!
    Natasha, thanks for all you did to keep her profile up during this ordeal. “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (sister)”. You were a sister to her like Katie.
    She will be able to make that family reunion! I prayed for that without much faith. I will continue to pray, but with more faith, as she recovers and processes the whole thing.

  • I was so incredibly happy to hear of Jill’s release! I don’t personally know Jill and I teared up with joy when I found out this morning, so I can only imagine the happiness and relief that her loved ones must feel. Natasha, thank you so much for keeping us updated on this whole situation. I prayed everyday for Jill’s safe return and will continue to do so for her happiness and recovery. I am ecstatic to see her free. Godspeed to you Jill!

  • It is so wonderful to hear this great news.
    Natasha your updates on Jill and passion for your friend is so heart warming.
    God bless Jill and her family, and every family who has suffered, is suffering during this chaos in Iraq, from Iraqis to Americans. Lets keep on praying for peace for everyone.

  • Cost of sleepness nights, international phone calls, travels, endless emails, being stressed out, being afraid, losing hope, finding hope.
    Cost of getting Jill back alive: PRICELESS!
    Elation to Nth degree for the Carroll family. (Would that be Nirvana?)
    < ---This concludes the Get Jill Operation --->

  • Make Gentle The Life Of This World

    This morning started out with the terrific news that Jill Carroll was alive. Lately mornings have not brought good news in the pages of newspapers and on web sites. But, today was different and somehow brought some sanity back into an otherwise insane …

  • There’s been a disturbing drumbeat on right wing radio and websitea today about Jill Carroll and her motivations. To counter, I just put up a post on my website that I hope reflects the majority of opinion about this wonderful day. Please feel free to read it and offer your comments.

  • mabrouk Natasha. This is indeed a wonderful day. Having spoken with you last week in Madison about the stresses and fears you have felt as a journalist in the region, and since read here your deep concerns for your friend Jill, I can only imagine the happiness and relief you feel today. It is appalling that the right-wing pundits are trying to diminish the joy by saying such horrendous things about Jill, as Mash notes above. Everybody check out his site http://www.docstrangelove.com/ – you’ll be disgusted at what he reports.

  • Praise the Lord! It seemed this day would never come,but I’m elated for Jill and her family.Can’t wait to hear her story and how this experience has affected her.Hopefully some good will result from this,if only the knowledge that many people around the world were united in praying for her release.

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