Iraqi ministers believe they know where the U.S. journalist is being held

Iraqi officials believe kidnapped American journalist Jill Carroll is alive and that “they have information with regard to where she might be held,” the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, said in a broadcast interview Monday.

“We are doing all that we can to help bring about a release and will persist with that. But (Iraqi Interior Minister Bayan Jabr) announced today that he’s optimistic about her release,” said Khalilzad, CNN reports.

Sunday marked the latest deadline set by kidnappers of Carroll, who was abducted Jan. 7 in western Baghdad. She last appeared on a video shown on Alrai Television in Kuwait on Feb. 9.

“I am here. I am fine. Please just do whatever they want, give them whatever they want as quickly as possible,” the 28-year-old Christian Science Monitor stringer said in a calm voice, adding she was speaking on Feb. 2, nearly a month after armed men in Baghdad abducted her. “There is a very short time. Please do it fast. That’s all.”

Carroll’s abductors, a group calling itself Brigades of Vengeance, have said they will kill Carroll if the United States does not release all female Iraqi prisoners.

In a statement on Monday, Christian Science Monitor editor Richard Bergenheim said: “The Carroll family and The Christian Science Monitor continue to follow developments in Iraq very carefully.

“We appreciate the wide ranging efforts being made by Iraqi and U.S. officials to secure Jill’s release. We hope that today’s encouraging statements about Jill’s condition and prospects for safe return are proved correct.”