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Germany paid over $10 mln for Iraq hostages-report

Written by: Staff
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BERLIN, May 6 (Reuters) The German government paid more than million in ransom to win the freedom of two men held hostage in Iraq for 99 days, public television station ARD reported today, quoting security sources.

German weekly magazine Der Spiegel also reported a ransom had been paid for the two engineers brought home this week, putting it at several million dollars more than the sum paid for Susanne Osthoff -- a German woman held in Iraq last year.

Reports at the time quoted unidentified diplomats as saying the government paid a ransom of 5 million dollars to Osthoff's captors.

The government is known to have paid to win the release of hostages in the past, but it has said repeatedly it cannot be blackmailed and its policy is not to pay ransoms.

Berlin has refused to comment on whether it did so for Osthoff or the two kidnapped men from Leipzig, Rene Braeunlich and Thomas Nitzschke, whose release was announced on Tuesday.

REUTERS PM KN2134

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