updated 6/18/2004 7:50:12 AM ET 2004-06-18T11:50:12

Iraqi kidnappers have released a Lebanese construction worker kidnapped early this week, Lebanese government officials said Friday.

Jamil Deeb has been released, according to Lebanese diplomats in Baghdad, the officials said, speaking on customary condition of anonymity.

He is the second Lebanese hostage to be freed by kidnappers in Iraq in three days. On Wednesday, kidnappers released Habib Samour who was abducted on his arrival in Baghdad on May 17.

The Lebanese Foreign Ministry had announced Deeb's abduction on Monday, saying he and another worker for the Sweidan construction company, George Frendo, had been missing for more than 24 hours.

On Friday, a government official who did not want his ministry to be named said Deeb was released late Thursday but Frendo remained in custody.

The official declined to comment on the circumstances of Deeb's release or say whether a ransom had been paid.

The authorities said last weekend that three other Lebanese were being held hostage in Iraq. One hostage, Roger Haddad, was released after his family paid a ransom. Samour was released on Wednesday, but it is not clear why. The third hostage, Hussein Alyan, was shot dead and his body dumped beside a road.

Militants have kidnapped many foreigners in Iraq in recent months. While many have been from nations participating in the U.S.-led coalition, the victims have also included Turks, Kuwaitis, Egyptians and Palestinians.

Turk, Egyptian released
On Thursday, two truck drivers — a Turk and an Egyptian — were released and handed over to an Iraqi journalist, weeks after being kidnapped near the restive city of Fallujah.

Truck drivers Bulent Yanik of Turkey and Victor Tawfiq Gerges of Egypt were taken hostage while hauling supplies from Kuwait to Iraq for the U.S.-run coalition.

The two were released and handed over to the head of a Turkish news agency in Baghdad on Thursday near Fallujah, 40 miles west of the capital, Baghdad. The journalist, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he handed the drivers over to Turkish diplomats in Baghdad.

Turkey’s Embassy here declined to comment.

Last week, the kidnappers had threatened to kill the drivers, but later they said that the decision was postponed. They called instead on Turks and Egyptians to hold demonstrations to denounce the U.S. presence in Iraq.

It was unclear whether ransom was paid for their release.

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