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Qatari hunting party kidnapped in Iraq freed: ministry

© AFP/File | Iraqi soldiers monitor a checkpoint east of Baghdad on January 24, 2014

BAGHDAD (AFP) - 

A Qatari hunting party kidnapped in southern Iraq in 2015 has been freed and was being handed over to a Qatari delegation in Baghdad on Friday, a senior interior ministry official told AFP.

"The interior ministry has received the Qatari hunters, all 26 of them," the minister's adviser, Wahab al-Taee, said. "They will be handed over to the Qatari envoy."

He said the hunters were currently in Baghdad undergoing identity checks by Iraqi officials and would be handed over to a Qatari delegation that has been waiting for them in the capital since last week.

The group of hunters, believed to include one or several prominent members of the Qatari royal family, were kidnapped in mid-December 2015 during a hunting trip in southern Iraq.

The ministry official would not provide details of the deal reached for their release.

Very little information had surfaced since their kidnapping as to their whereabouts or condition.

© 2017 AFP