The mothers of two German men being held hostage in Iraq have made a televised appeal to the kidnappers to show compassion and free the pair.Engineers Rene Braeunlich and Thomas Nitzschke were abducted in the town of Baiji on January 24. Thomas’mother said: “My son and Rene travelled to Iraq with no political intentions. They never wanted to hurt your country. We appeal to your mercy and clemency and plead from our hearts for you to save our innocent sons. Please release Thomas and Rene.” On Tuesday the kidnappers said they would kill their captives within 72 hours unless Berlin ended cooperation with Iraq and closed its embassy in Baghdad. There has been no news of the men since then. Last year, a German archeologist who had been held in Iraq for three weeks was released. Berlin refused to comment on speculation that a ransom was paid.