"They have been freed, thank God," said Shamil Hanafi, chief spokesman for Iraqna, an Egyptian-owned mobile communications company operating in Iraq.

 

Hanafi said Tawhid wal Jihad, a group led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, had negotiated their release.

 

"Tawhid wal Jihad led talks with the kidnappers that lasted 48 hours and because of our record of not being involved with the Americans, they were freed," he said.


Orascom, which has a sizeable stake in Iraqna, a mobile telecommunications company covering Baghdad and central Iraq, said it did not pay a ransom to secure the release of previous captives.


Earlier this month, Iraqna workers went on strike, saying they were frustrated that the company wasn't doing enough to get the employees released.