American hostage with Mid-South ties rescued in Iraq

Former hostage Roy Hallums' ex-wife said she
told him "our prayers were answered" after he called from Iraq
with news that he had been rescued by the U.S. military 10 months
after he was kidnapped.

"I was just telling him about what was going on," Susan Hallums told CNN. "He didn't know about New Orleans. ... He was very sorry for all the people there."

Coalition troops rescued Hallums on Wednesday morning in an isolated farmhouse 15 miles south of Baghdad, according to the U.S. military.

"I can confirm he's been released," his 53-year-old ex-wife told The Associated Press in a brief telephone interview from her home in Corona. "Considering what he's been through, I understand he's in good condition."

A family Web site was topped with a headline: Roy IS FREE!!!!!! 

Hallums, 57, was working for the Saudi Arabian Trading and Construction Co., supplying food to the Iraqi army, when he was kidnapped Nov. 1 from a Baghdad office.

He was seized along with two other foreigners after a gunbattle in the upscale Mansour neighborhood. An Iraqi guard and one attacker were killed. A Filipino, a Nepalese and three Iraqis also were abducted but later freed.

In a January video released by his kidnappers, Hallums had a shaggy beard and a gun pointed at his head. The family sent fliers to Iraq that, in English and Arabic, offer a $40,000 reward for information leading to his safe release.

The Pentagon statement said information from an unidentified Iraqi detainee led to the rescue. More than 200 foreigners have been abducted in Iraq since the war began in March 2003; more than 30 have been killed.

Susan Hallums said she and her husband of 30 years divorced a few years ago but remained good friends. They have two daughters. "It was just so wonderful to hear his voice," Mrs. Hallums told CNN. "My little granddaughter that's 8-years-old, she talked to him and told him she had a celebration in her head."

She said the family was hoping he'll be home this weekend.

"Thank God that our prayers were answered and that God saw him through this ordeal, and he's going to be coming back and he said he didn't want to be anywhere else, he wanted just to stay home," she told CNN.

In the military statement, Hallums thanked his rescuers and said he was in good health.