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Colombia releases Betancourt video

  |   July 5, 2008 at 12:07 AM
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BOGOTA, July 5 (UPI) -- Colombian officials released a videotape Friday that shows the rescue of former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and other hostages.

The tape was reportedly made by two Colombian intelligence agents posing as television journalists during a supposed transfer of the hostages to a new place of imprisonment, The New York Times reported. Colombian officials say agents posed as members of the FARC, tricking their guards.

At a news conference, Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos said that only Colombian agents were involved in the operation. But he said that a U.S. surveillance plane assisted.

There has been speculation that U.S. and Israeli agents took part. A Swiss radio station reported a claim that the hostages were actually freed in return for a $20 million payment.

The videotape showed Betancourt and three U.S. contractors being handcuffed by their guards. It also shows them on the helicopter once they learned they were actually free.

© 2008 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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