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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 December 2005, 18:40 GMT
German hostage released in Iraq
Video shows German hostage in Iraq Susanne Osthoff and her Iraqi driver
Militants showed Ms Osthoff and her driver in a video last month
Susanne Osthoff, the German woman taken hostage in Iraq several weeks ago, has been released.

Ms Osthoff, 43, and her Iraqi driver were seized in north-western Iraq by unidentified attackers on 25 November.

They threatened to kill Ms Osthoff - who is an archaeologist and an aid worker - and demanded that Germany cut ties with Iraq's government.

There is still no news of UK hostage Norman Kember and three other westerners seized last month.

Mr Kember was taken captive in Baghdad on 26 November along with Canadians James Loney, 41, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, and an American Tom Fox, 54.

In good shape

The news of Ms Osthoff's release was announced by her brother and later confirmed by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

"My sister is free. We are all happy," Robert Osthoff told Germany's television channel, NTV.

He said he had "no idea" how his sister was freed.

Mr Steinmeier later told reporters that Ms Osthoff was "in the safety of the German embassy in Baghdad".

"Our impression after talking to her is that she is in good physical condition," the minister added.

It was not immediately clear if the Iraqi driver had also been released.

See the announcement of Ms Osthoff's release


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