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Journalist's family hail 'freedom'

The overjoyed father of the American journalist freed by Islamic militants said that his son and others who venture into dangerous lands like Syria deserve praise for wanting to "bear witness ... tell the truth about what's going on."

Michael Padnos, who lives on a boat outside Paris, said in an interview that the interminable search and wait for his son had been like "hunting for bats in a dark, black cave".

Theo Padnos, who writes under the name Peter Curtis, spoke to his mother in Boston on Sunday night "for less than a minute", but said he was "happy to be back in the civilized world and see some girls," according to the father's account.

An unidentified American with the journalist initially spoke with Peter's mother, Nancy Curtis, but told her that "he is too upset to talk ... right now." He called her in the evening, according to the father.

It wasn't clear when Peter would return home to Boston. He was apparently in Tel Aviv, where he was driven after being released Sunday in the Golan Heights, a week after the beheading of another American journalist, James Foley, an act that was videotaped and posted on the Internet.

His family said they believe their son was captured in October 2012, shortly after crossing into Syria.

He was held by Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as the Nusra Front, according to US Secretary of State John Kerry. The al-Qaeda-linked group is fighting the regime of Syrian leader Bashar Assad.

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