Militants abducted an Iraqi reporter working for Agence France-Presse (search) for two days in the northern city of Ramadi (search) and beat him with rifle butts before letting him go, the Paris-based news agency said Monday.
Ammar Daham, who also takes photos for AFP, was covering clashes Saturday between Iraqi police forces and insurgents in Ramadi, 60 miles west of Baghdad, when he was seized by assailants who described themselves as Mujahedeen (search) fighters, said AFP Baghdad bureau chief Sami Ketz.
The militants then blindfolded Daham and drove him to their stronghold in nearby Fallujah, where he was interrogated and beaten, Ketz said.
On Sunday, Daham's family received a telephone call from the militants who said they had taken him by mistake and that he would be released shortly.
Daham was later found lying unconscious by his car in an industrial neighborhood of Ramadi. The abductors had stolen his camera and mobile phone and painted the words "he is not guilty" on his vehicle.
Local residents rushed Daham to a Ramadi hospital, where doctors described him in a serious but not life-threatening condition, Ketz said.