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The Mideast

US man captured by militia in Iraq released to UN

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March 17: American identified as Randy Michael Hultz was shown on television in a U.S. military uniform with no insignia. (Reuters)

An American citizen says he was released from more than nine months of imprisonment by a Shiite militia that for years targeted U.S. troops.

Although the man did not identify himself, Iraqi lawmakers showed U.S.-issued military and contractor ID cards that identified him as Randy Michael Hultz.

Hultz told reporters he was grateful for his release.

He said "It was explained to me that this is a gift to me, my family and to the American people who oppose the war."

He gave few details of what he described as a "kidnapping," or how he was treated while captured.

Hultz said the kidnappers were from the Promised Day Brigade, a branch of the Mahdi Army, which is a militia that is controlled by the anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Hultz said he deployed to Iraq in 2003 as an active-duty soldier but left the military after 15 months. At that point, he said, he worked in a "civilian capacity" until his kidnapping on June 18, 2011.

He has been transferred to the U.S. Embassy.