Two German engineers released after more than three months of captivity in Iraq are due to be flown home today. The men were abducted outside their workplace in the industrial town of Baiji, about 180 kilometres north of Baghdad. Since the kidnapping, hundreds of people had gathered in their hometown of Leipzig in eastern Germany for weekly vigils.
“It’s wonderful,” said a local priest. “They’re free. Thank God. We hoped and prayed for so long. It’s such a wonderful feeling, a tremendous feeling of relief and thanks. Tomorrow would have been one hundred days in captivity. This long martyrdom, day and night, is over.” There has also been celebration at the mens’ workplace. “It’s a fantastic feeling, a really happy feeling,” said a manager. “But I think the real happiness hasn’t really sunk in yet, not in these first minutes.” And at the two mens’ football club, players were overjoyed to hear the news, cracking open a celebratory drink.