British Hostage Released in Iraq Heading Home, Group Says

Former hostage Norman Kember flew out of Baghdad on a British transport plane, the Christian Peacemaker Teams activist group said Friday.

Meanwhile, the two Canadians kidnapped and released with Kember, 74, prepared to leave this weekend. Friday was Harmeet Singh Sooden's 33rd birthday, and he and James Loney, 41, celebrated with a cake decorated with a maple leaf.

The trio was kidnapped Nov. 26 along with an American colleague, Tom Fox, 54. Fox's body was found this month, shot and dumped in western Baghdad.

The three hostages were freed Thursday from a house west of Baghdad by a joint U.S.-British military operation. The kidnappers were not there.

CPT's Anita David said the two Canadians were resting at a location in Baghdad she referred to as the Canadian embassy building after spending the night at the British ambassador's residence.

They had breakfast there this morning, complete with fresh orange juice.

"They said they have tentative plans for leaving tomorrow," she said. "They're fine. They're well-fed. They're tired."

David said the birthday cake was white and decorated with a pink Canadian maple leaf.

Both Canadians are "deeply grateful to all those who worked for them and prayed for their release," David said.

"Their heads are swirling," she said.