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German Government Confirms Contact With Iraq Kidnappers


Germany's foreign minister said the government has made contact with insurgents who kidnapped two German engineers in northern Iraq.

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier made the announcement in an interview with German television Friday, but gave no details. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her government condemned the kidnapping in the strongest terms. She said officials are working to gain the release of the two engineers, who were taken captive Tuesday north of Baghdad.

The Arab television station al-Jazeera broadcast a video Friday showing the two German hostages on their knees with gunmen in the background. Al-Jazeera said a group calling itself "Ansar al-Tawid wal Sunnah" produced the videotape.

The two hostages were seen speaking, but al-Jazeera did not broadcast any audio. The station did not report any demands, but said the Germans appealed to their government to work for their release.

At least five foreigners have been kidnapped in Iraq this month, including two Kenyan communications engineers and an American journalist.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.