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Germany

Report: Berlin Thinks German Iraq Hostage Still Alive

The German government believes that Bavarian archaeologist Susanne Osthoff, kidnapped last month in Iraq with her driver, is still alive, a weekly magazine reports in its edition to appear Monday.

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Supporters have been demonstrating for Osthoff's release

"The crisis unit clearly acts on the assumption that Osthoff is alive, and that she is apparently in good health," Focus says.

Osthoff, 43, a convert to Islam who has lived in Iraq for 10 years, was seized along with her driver on Nov. 25 in the Nineveh region of northwest Iraq. A video released by her kidnappers to German television purportedly showed her and the driver blindfolded and surrounded by armed men.

The kidnappers want Germany to end all cooperation with the Iraqi government.

According to Focus, citing sources in the foreign ministry crisis unit, she was seized by a group calling itself the Army of the Mujahedeen which initially thought she was a spy working for a western government, but later realized she was not.

There was no comment from the foreign ministry.

Osthoff's supporters have announced a major poster and television campaign to boost pressure for her release.

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