Qatar says Qatari hunter, Asian kidnapped in Iraq released

Qatar's Foreign Ministry says a Qatari hunter and an Asian kidnapped in Iraq while on a hunting trip there in December have been released.

The ministry did not name those released in the announcement Wednesday morning carried by the state-run Qatar News Agency.

It said that "efforts are still ongoing to free the rest of the 26 kidnapped."

Iraqi officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

In December, gunmen raided the Iraqi camp located in the desert in Samawah province at dawn, kidnapping the falconry hunters.

Samawah is located on the Euphrates River, about 370 kilometers (230 miles) southeast of Baghdad.

Hunters from Gulf states, mainly Qatar, visit Iraq's vast western and southern desert areas for hunting and purchasing falcons. Iraqi authorities approve the expeditions and provide security.