MADRID: Two Spanish journalists taken hostage by an Al-Qaeda-linked group last year have been freed, the Spanish daily El Mundo reported on Sunday.
“At 21:27 [9:00 p.m. Manila time] veteran El Mundo Middle East correspondent Javier Espinosa called the paper’s newsroom and said they had been released and handed over to the Turkish military,” the newspaper said on its website.
Espinosa and fellow hostage freelance photographer Ricardo García Vilanova were kidnapped, along with a third Spanish journalist, last September at a “checkpoint” in Syria’s border frontier with Turkey. All three had been attempting to leave the country.
There was no immediate word on the health of the two journalists, whether any demands were made by their kidnappers or any ransom paid.
Their captors were earlier identified as members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a jihadist faction in Syria with roots in al-Qaeda’s Iraqi affiliate.
The third kidnapped journalist, Marc Marginedas, a correspondent for Catalan daily El Periodico, was freed early this month.
Four French journalists, kidnapped nine months ago, remain in captivity in Syria.