Two German engineers held hostage in Iraq for more than three months are expected to return home Wednesday.

Rene Braeunlich and Thomas Nitzschke were released Tuesday after being taken hostage January 24 outside their workplace in Baiji, north of Baghdad.

In the worker's hometown of Leipzig, church bells rang and people celebrated news of the release.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday she was relieved and pleased that the men were coming home. She also thanked thousands of Germans who held vigils and peaceful demonstrations calling for their release.

During the ordeal, their captors released videos in which they threatened to kill Braeunlich and Nitzschke unless Berlin closed its embassy in Baghdad and end its cooperation with the Iraqi government.

Neither demand was met.

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