I'm just wondering if some of the posters here a game enough to say well done to the Federal gov't for helping to sort this out! But I guess not, probably more concerned about Corby! ps. that comment was meant to be antagonistic but in a joking way! :blaugh: AUSTRALIAN hostage Douglas Wood early today said he is "extremely happy and relieved" after being freed by his Iraqi captors after almost seven weeks in captivity. Video: Wood speaks from hospital | The 63-year-old US-based engineer was rescued by a crack team of US and Iraqi troops at 2.30pm Sydney time yesterday at a house about one hour's drive from central Baghdad. In his first public statement after the ordeal, early this morning Mr Wood said: "I'm extremely happy and relieved to be free again and deeply grateful to all those who worked to bring about my release. "Some of these people I've already been able to thank personally but I know there are many others I may never get a chance to thank. I'm also very grateful towards my family." Prime Minister John Howard advised Federal Parliament of Mr Wood's release at 6.40pm yesterday. He said no ransom had been paid and Mr Wood was safely in the custody of the Australian hostage team sent to Baghdad six weeks ago to negotiate his release. "I am delighted to inform the House that the Australian hostage in Iraq Mr Douglas Wood is safe from his captors," Mr Howard said to cheers in Parliament. Mr Wood's rescue by heavily armed Iraqi troops, backed by US soldiers and with planning help from Australian SAS soldiers, comes after several aborted attempts. The team moved in on the house in Ghazaliya ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬? one of the most dangerous Sunni Arab neighbourhoods of Baghdad ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬? yesterday and secured his release without a shot being fired. Three men were taken into custody and an Iraqi hostage was also freed. General Naseer al-Abadi, Iraq's Deputy Chief of Staff, said Mr Wood was found under a "blanket" and that the insurgents had tried to tell troops he was their sick father. "This is a great day for Iraq. We are proud of the way our soldiers conducted themselves," General al-Abadi said. Early today, Mr Wood ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬? who was described as in reasonably good health by rescuers ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬? said: "It's a positive sign for the future of Iraq that Iraqi soldiers played a key role in my release. "I'm looking forward to catching up with loved ones as soon as possible." After the rescue, Mr Wood's brothers, Malcolm, Graham and Vernon Wood, said they were delighted. "It has been a horrifying ordeal for him. The family is greatly relieved," they said. Keysar Trad, the Sydney spokesman for the Mufti of Australia Sheik Taj el-Dene Elhilaly, last night said the sheik provided the crucial information leading to Mr Wood's release. Mr Wood's family have campaigned vigorously for his release, launching television commercials in Arabic pleading with his captors for his life and setting up a website showing him as a loving family man. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer phoned Mr Wood's brother, Malcolm, at home in Canberra about 6pm to break the news. "I told [Malcolm Wood] we had the so-called proof of life test that we had applied, just asking him a question and him being able to give a personal answer to that question over the phone, so we were able to establish it really was Douglas Wood," Mr Downer said. Mr Downer said Mr Wood was in good shape, if mentally exhausted.