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Iraq: kidnapped archbishop freed

 The Syrian Catholic Archbishop of Mosul, Basile Georges Casmoussa was freed unharmed yesterday afternoon, just one day after his kidnapping. Joaquin Navarro-Valls, director of the Holy See Press Office, said: "With great satisfaction we learned of the release of yesterday afternoon. "The Holy Father was immediately informed and he thanked God for the happy outcome of this affair." He said: "No ransom was paid. The kidnapping caused great surprise because the archbishop was well loved by both Christians and Muslims." Archbishop Casmoussa was born in Karakoche in northern Iraq in 1938. He was ordained a priest in 1962 and consecrated a bishop in December 1999. The Iraqi population is estimated at 25 million. Approximately 750,000 are Christians, 70% of whom belong to the Chaldean Catholic Church. There are 60,000 Syrian Catholics in Iraq. Source: VIS