FALLUJAH, Iraq – U.S. forces found and freed an Iraqi who had been chained to a wall and beaten by his captors in a building in Fallujah, the military said Thursday. The man told Marines he was a taxi driver held for 10 days.
The man was bruised and starving when troops came across him Wednesday afternoon in the building in a northeastern district of the city, where U.S. and Iraqi forces have launched a huge assault against Sunni insurgents.
Marines spokesman Maj. Francis Piccoli (search) said that U.S. troops had found the man chained to a wall and shackled by his wrists and ankles. The man had been beaten by his captors and was very malnourished, according to medical assessments.
A variety of weapons was discovered at the site as well, he said.
Piccoli said he did not know the man's nationality but that he was not an American or Westerner.
ABC pool footage showed the man telling Marines that he was an Iraqi taxi driver who had been held for 10 days until the Marines freed him.
The man, who was shirtless and wrapped up in a blanket, had what appeared to be bruises on his neck and back.
Speaking through an Iraqi translator, the man said his captors put cuffs on his legs and hands and beat him with thick electrical cable. He said he thought he would be killed. He also said he had not been given food or water for several days.
An Iraqi general said Wednesday that troops had uncovered buildings where foreign hostages had been held and possibly killed, finding CDs of beheadings and documents of foreign captives.
More than 170 foreigners have been kidnapping in Iraq this year, and more than 30 of them were slain by their captives. At least nine remain in the hands of kidnappers and their fate is unknown. One of the most notorious kidnappers, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (search), had been thought to be in Fallujah but is believed to have fled before this week's offensive.