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■German Hostage in Iraq Has Been Freed
German Foreign Minister Announces That Susanne Osthoff Has Been Freed From Kidnappers in Iraq
BERLIN Dec 18, 2005 — A German archaeologist kidnapped in Iraq last month with her driver has been freed, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier announced Sunday night.
He did not disclose any details about Susanne Osthoff's release.
"I am glad to be able to announce to you … that Mrs. Susanne Osthoff is no longer in the hands of the kidnappers," Steinmeier told journalists. "As of today, she is in the safety of the German Embassy in Baghdad."
He added that "our impression after talking to her is that she is in good physical condition."
It wasn't immediately clear if Osthoff's driver also had been freed. Steinmeier left the news conference without taking questions.
Osthoff and her driver disappeared Nov. 25 in northern Iraq. Days later, the two were shown in a videotape blindfolded and sitting on a floor, with militants one armed with a rocket-propelled grenade standing beside them.
The captors threatened to kill the hostages unless Germany stopped dealing with the Iraqi government.
The woman's brother, Robert Osthoff, told The Associated Press that German police informed him of his sister's release just a few minutes before Steinmeier's announcement.
"We'll light candles, pray, and then perhaps we'll get our peace and quiet back," he said. "I'm happy, I'm overjoyed, that's all I can say."
He said officials didn't tell him how she was freed.
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