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RAID BY PHILIPPINE POLICE YIELDS ABDUCTED AMERICAN

Crack police stormed several hideouts of a kidnapping gang Wednesday, rescuing an American executive abducted 61 days ago and killing 13 of his suspected communist rebel captors.

Michael Barnes, vice president of an energy firm, was rescued Wednesday afternoon during a raid on a safehouse in a southern Manila suburb, police Col. Roberto Lastimoso said.Barnes, wearing shorts and a T-shirt, looked thin and haggard during a police press briefing hours after his rescue. He was bearded and had what appeared to be several mosquito bites on his arms and legs but was apparently unhurt.

The 42-year-old American thanked his rescuers, saying they were "very brave."

Barnes, of Long Beach, Calif., was plucked by armed men from a crowded street steps from his office in the Makati financial district early Jan. 17.

Authorities blamed a group connected with communist rebels for the abduction of the vice president of Philippine Geothermal.

The New Peoples Army, the mainstream military arm of the 23-year-old communist insurgency, denied involvement.

Police said they found Barnes in chains in one of the rooms of a one-story house they raided Wednesday as part of a massive rescue operation.

Police Lt. Gen. Gerardo Flores said Barnes was blindfolded and when the shooting started, one of the kidnappers pulled him to the side and held a gun to his head.

"Suddenly he was released because the one holding him was hit by our intelligence agents," Flores said. "He was grabbed by the friendly troops."

Four of Barnes' captors were killed in the battle at the house, and two others were captured. A total of 13 suspects were killed in firefights with authorities during the simultaneous raids on seven safe houses scattered throughout metropolitan Manila, police said.

Flores said a police task force trained for six weeks for the rescue while the kidnappers safe houses were under surveillance.

The rescue operation was praised by President Corazon Aquino and U.S. Ambassador Frank Wisner.