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Tuesday 24 January 2017

'The dream present' - Irishman who fought Islamic State freed from prison in Iraq after 10-day detention

Published 24/04/2016 | 09:27

Joshua Molloy: Laois man travelled to region just a year ago
Joshua Molloy: Laois man travelled to region just a year ago
Joshua Molloy

THE Irishman arrested in Iraq after fighting Isis in Syria has been released.

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Joshua Molloy (24) from the village of Ballylinan, Co Laois, travelled to the Middle East region in April 2015 to fight against Isil with forces allied to the Kurds.

Joshua Molloy
Joshua Molloy
Joshua Molloy Credit: Gerry Mooney

He was arrested 10 days ago after allegedly crossing the border from Syria to Iraq illegally more than a week ago.

Declan Molloy, Joshua's father, said emotions in the family were running wild.

"We are all delighted here. We are jumping with joy to know that he is out," he said.

"You know that Christmas morning feeling, it's a bit like that, when you find your most sought-after present under the tree, the dream present. That's how we feel."

Joshua Molloy: Laois man travelled to region just a year ago
Joshua Molloy: Laois man travelled to region just a year ago

Joshua was one of three men freed from jail in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq.

It is understood they were freed last night, with Ireland's Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan first to break the news to the Molloy family.

"I welcome the release of Irish citizen Joshua Molloy in Iraq," Mr Flanagan said in a tweet.

"I thank all who helped & I wish him a safe journey home to join his family."

In an interview with the Irish Daily Mail - published today - from a prison in the Iraq city of Erbil, Mr Molloy, described as looking frail and exhausted, said he was trying to get home after nine months of fighting when he was arrested.

"They're feeding us here, so that's okay," he said. "I am thin from my time in Syria. I was there for nine months. I just wanted to go home. "

"I was in the British army and I read what the Kurds were doing, fighting to protect innocent people in the face of Isis," he said.

"All those terrible things were happening to the Yazidis and we weren't doing anything about it, so I decided to come and help them."

He was also adamant that any other fighters thinking of heading to Syria should not go.

It is understood he was arrested by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) 10 days ago along with two Britons, Joe Akerman and Jac Holmes, as they tried to return home.

The Department of Foreign Affairs is working with British counterparts on the case.

In a statement, Mr Flanagan said: "I would like to thank all those who helped to make this early release happen.

"My department will continue to provide consular assistance in this case."

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