Two German engineers held hostage in Iraq for 99 days have returned to a military airport in Berlin.
Thomas Nitzschke (left) and Rene Braeunlich are back home
Thomas Nitzschke, 28, and Rene Braeunlich, 32, said they had feared for their lives while held captive.
They were seized near an oil refinery in Iraq in January. They were last seen appealing for help in an internet video message released in April.
Dozens of foreigners are being held in Iraq, plus hundreds of Iraqis seized by insurgents and criminal gangs.
"We are very glad to still be alive, which was not a given," a tired-looking Mr Nitzschke told reporters.
His colleague Mr Braeunlich said: "I am happy to be back home. We had a difficult time. I would like to thank the embassy in Baghdad, the foreign ministry and the people who stood behind us and did everything they could for our release."
The two Cryotec Anlagenbau employees were then taken to be reunited with their families.
The German government has given no details of how the release came about and has refused to comment on reports that a ransom was paid.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed their release, and thanked those who have held candlelit vigils in Leipzig, eastern Germany.
The men were kidnapped on 24 January near Baiji, 180km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, by a group called Ansar al-Tawheed wa al-Sunna.
Their captors had demanded that the German government end its involvement in Iraq, threatening to kill the men unless their demands were met.
In December German archaeologist Susanne Osthoff was freed after three weeks in captivity. Rumours have persisted that the German government paid a substantial ransom for her release.