Muna Salomi cannot express how excited she is to learn that her husband, American contractor Issa Salomi, is on his way home.
The 60-year old El Cajon man was last seen Jan. 23 in Baghdad and was believed to be kidnapped by Shiite extremists, who posted a video clip on the Internet showing Issa Salomi reciting demands.
“I am so happy to hear that he is safe and alive and thank God for everything,” said Muna Salomi at mass at the Santa Sophia Catholic Church in Spring Valley Sunday.
She credits her faith for keeping her strong while she waited for word about her husband of 31 years.
“I was worried, I thought I may never see him again in my life,” she said.
On Friday the family received news from the FBI: Issa, a contractor working for the U.S. government, was alive.
“It's rare that this happens,” said niece Vivian Tilley. “It's a miracle… you can count on one hand how many stories are happy endings like this.”
By phone, Issa Salomi told his family the power of prayer and love for them kept him strong.
“That kept him going knowing we were here and that was his goal, ‘I am going to get through this and go back home,’” said Tilley.
Issa Salomi will fly to a San Antonio hospital to be evaluated and will see his family there in about a week.
“I can’t wait to hug him,” said Muna Salomi, “[I’ll] cook what ever he likes.”
An American citizen, Issa Salomi grew up in Iraq before fleeing the country in 1991. He returned to Baghdad in 1997 - this time working for the U-S Army.
When he disappeared in January, he was declared "Excused Absence Whereabouts Unknown."
A Pentagon statement Saturday said only that Salomi was back under military control, but gave no details on his disappearance or return. The statement said the circumstances of the case are under investigation.
The same group that claimed responsibility for Salomi's abduction was believed to be behind the kidnapping of British computer consultant Peter Moore in May 2007 along with his four British bodyguards. Moore was handed over to Iraqi authorities in late December. Three of the bodyguards were killed and the fourth is believed dead.
It was unclear after Salomi's disappearance whether he was taken as part of a terrorist scheme. A U.S. intelligence official at the time said initial investigations indicated he was abducted by criminals for revenge or money.
When he returns home to San Diego, his family says they plan on throwing him a huge party.