A plane carrying two German engineers has touched down in Berlin at the end of a hostage ordeal in Iraq that lasted over three months. Speaking at the city’s Tegel airport, the pair thanked those involved in their liberation. Thomas Nitzschke paid particular tribute to Germany’s foreign minister and the special team set up to handle the case.“I am very happy,” his colleague Rene Braeunlich told reporters. “Words fail me. It was a hard time for us and I want to thank the German embassy in Baghdad and all those who helped secure our release.” Germany’s foreign ministry has criticized media reports that a hefty ransom was paid for the safe return of the men, who come from the eastern city of Leipzig.
There, a church service of thanksgiving will be held on Monday. The engineers were seized from the industrial town of Baiji, 180 kilometres north of Baghdad. Their captors had threatened to kill them unless the German government ended its involvement in Iraq.