Petra, the state-run news agency quoted ministry spokesman Rajab Sukairi as saying that the released businessman, Ibrahim Maharma, has now rejoined his family after being held captive for five days.

"A brother of Ibrahim has informed the ministry that a ransom of $100,000 was paid to the kidnappers to free him," Sukairi said.

The spokesman pointed out that Ibrahim's brother, Taha, was abducted in Iraq last year and was forced to pay $50,000 as ransom for his freedom.