Libya Says It Will Release Times Journalists Today

Four New York Times journalists held since Tuesday by pro-Qaddafi forces in Libya will be released today, Libyan government officials have told the US State Department. The Libyan government says that the four journalists, who include photographers Lynsey Addario and Tyler Hicks, were arrested in Ajdabiya when the Libyan army swept into the rebel-controlled city.

The Times reported on Wednesday that Addario, Hicks, the Times Beirut bureau chief, Anthony Shadid, and reporter and videographer Stephen Farrell were missing, having last made contact with editors on Tuesday. The Times reports today that the four entered the rebel-controlled eastern region without visas via the Egypt-Libya border.

In an interview with CNN, Seif Islam el-Qaddafi, son of Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Qaddafi, said via a translator, “They entered the country illegally and when the army, when they liberated the city of Ajdabiya from the terrorists and they found her, they arrest her because you know, foreigners in this place.” He added, “But then they were happy because they found out she is American, not European. And thanks to that, she will be free tomorrow.”  Qaddafi was probably referring to photographer Addario, but according to the Times, Libyan officials informed the State Department on Thursday evening that all four would be released on Friday.

(Seif Islam el-Qaddafi has previously met Addario. In 2004, Addario photographed him and his father on assignment for Time magazine.)

When the Times reported the journalists were missing, Times editor Bill Keller said in a statement, “We have talked with officials of the Libyan government in Tripoli, and they tell us they are attempting to ascertain the whereabouts of our journalists.”

Related Story:
Lynsey Addario, Tyler Hicks Missing in Libya

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