American hostage freed

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. government says an American held hostage for about two years by an al-Qaida-linked group in Syria has been released.

The Obama administration identifies the man as Peter Theo Curtis of Massachusetts.

National security adviser Susan Rice says Curtis is now safe outside of Syria.

Secretary of State John Kerry says Curtis was held by an al-Qaida-linked militant group fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The United Nations says it helped with the handover to U.N. peacekeepers in a village in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights, and that Curtis was released to American authorities after a medical checkup.

The news comes days after the Islamic State group posted a web video showing the murder of James Foley, an American journalist who was kidnapped in 2012 while covering the Syrian uprising.

 The group said the killing was in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq.


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