Two German hostages released in Iraq

Two German engineers were released Tuesday safe and unharmed after nearly three months in captivity in Iraq, the German government said. Rene Braeunlich and Thomas Nitzschke were in a safe place in Iraq and receiving care from German specialists, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in a statement released from the Chilean capital of Santiago, where he was traveling. The pair are to return to Germany on Wednesday, he said. "I am very relieved and pleased that both hostages are free and that their families can rejoice," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a televised statement. Braeunlich, 32, and Nitzschke, 28, both employees of Cryotec Anlagenbau AG near Leipzig in eastern Germany, were kidnapped Jan. 24 on their way to work at an Iraqi-government owned detergent plant in Beiji, 250 kilometers north of Baghdad.