The video pictures of the two German hostages kidnapped earlier this week in Iraq have sparked a determined reaction in Berlin, where both the foreign minister and prime minister have expressed their shock. Their voices were inaudible, but the Arabic television station that broadcast the video says the two men urged Berlin to help secure their release. Chancellor Merkel says the video her foreign minister described as “devastating” has “deeply moved” the nation;“In all our efforts the life and physical inviolability of our two fellow citizens will have top priority. You can firmly count on us that we will not slow down in our efforts to do everything to bring home the hostages safely, healthy, and in a sound condition”, she added. Many in Iraq are calling for their release. “I say if these are really Iraqi kidnappers and have Iraqi interests at heart then they should release the Germans because they are our friends, and are very good towards Iraq”, said one man in Baghdad. Last month a German archaeologist was freed after three week’s captivity. German media quoted unnamed diplomats as saying a four million euro ransom was paid. Two days later Germany freed a Hezbollah activist jailed for life for murdering a US navy diver in 1985. Berlin denies any connection.