Police: Kidnapped CBS Translator Released in Iraq; British Journalist Still Held

An Iraqi interpreter for CBS News kidnapped in Basra was freed on Wednesday, but a British journalist remained in captivity, police said.

Police Brig. Gen. Shamkhi Jassim said the interpreter had been handed over to authorities at the same hotel where he was seized in Basra, 340 miles southeast of Baghdad.

But the British journalist who was kidnapped with him remained in captivity. The director of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's office in Basra said negotiations were continuing for his release.

Journalists gathered at the hotel saw the Iraqi interpreter being escorted by police to their main headquarters.

The news comes hours after a deal was announced with kidnappers for the release of the two journalists, radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's office in Basra said Wednesday.

Harith al-Edhari, a director of al-Sadr's office in the southern Iraqi city, said negotiations had persuaded the kidnappers to release the British journalist and his Iraqi interpreter later Wednesday.

"We reached an agreement with kidnappers to hand over the Iraqi interpreter to the police command in Basra and the British journalist will be handed over to al-Sadr's office in Basra this afternoon," al-Edhari told The Associated Press. He did not give a specific time.

Iraqi police and witnesses said the two were seized Sunday from a hotel in Basra.

CBS News said Monday that two journalists working for it were missing in Basra, but it did not identify them.

Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, has seen fierce fighting between rival Shiite militias as part of a power struggle in the oil-rich south.