Gary Teeley, 37, was released on Sunday after tribal leaders in the area negotiated with his captors, reported Aljazeera's correspondent Hamid al-Shutri.

Teeley, an employee of the International Qatar Company in Baghdad, was handed over to occupation authorities.

His release was confirmed by the occupation forces ."He is in the hands of American and Italian forces in Nassiriya as we speak. We'll be making sure that he is flown out of the country and back to Britain as soon as possible," said a senior source in the occupation forces.

In London, a British Foreign Office spokesman said Teeley, a
father of five who had been missing since last Monday, was "safe and well".

"(The news has) still not sunk in at the moment. I am just
grinning from ear to ear. I am so happy," Terry Teeley, a cousin of the British contractor, told Sky News television.

Teeley is a consultant for a laundry firm and has lived and worked extensively in the Middle East. It was not clear exactly what work Teeley had been doing in Iraq.