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Jill Carroll: finally free

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Katie Carroll went from a deep sleep to instantly awake when she saw the Iraq country code on her caller ID.

She grabbed the phone. It was 5:45 a.m and the ringing heralded the news about her twin sister, Jill, who had been held hostage in Iraq for nearly three months. "Katie, it's me," said the voice on the other end of the line. "I'm free."

It was Jill herself, safe after 82 days.

"Then she burst into tears and I did, too,'' says Katie.

Journalist Jill Carroll was freed in Baghdad Thursday ending a period of captivity marked by an enormous global outpouring of support and calls for her release.

"I'm just really grateful. The overwhelming emotion is gratitude. I am glad this day has arrived and thank whatever forces, divine and otherwise, that helped bring about this day," says Jill.

On Jan. 7, Monitor freelancer Carroll traveled to interview Sunni Arab politician Adnan al-Dulaimi in Baghdad's western Adil neighborhood. He was not in his office, and, after waiting some 20 minutes, Carroll and her Iraqi driver and interpreter left.

After traveling about 300 yards, they were attacked by gunmen. Carroll was seized, and her interpreter, Allan Eniwya, was killed.

Thursday, Carroll's captors simply drove her to Amariyah, stopped the car, pointed her in the direction of the Iraqi Islamic Party (IPP) office at about 12:20 p.m. local time and then drove off.

Carroll, who was on assignment for the Monitor when she was kidnapped, gave a short interview to Baghdad TV, which is owned by the IIP, before being transported to the Green Zone by the US military. She was told the interview was for internal party uses only, and didn't realize it would be broadcast. In that interview Carrroll said that for most of her ordeal she was kept in a darkened room which she later described as a "cave."

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