BERLIN Aug 24 A German man held hostage for
about a year in Syria by fighters of Islamic State was released
in June after the government did a deal with the militant group,
die Welt am Sonntag newspaper said on Sunday.
Citing German security sources, the newspaper said the
Islamists, who last week released a video showing the beheading
of an American journalist, were given something for the man's
release but did not specify the nature of the trade-off.
The foreign ministry refused to comment on the report and
the interior ministry was unavailable.
The newspaper said that a 27-year-old man from the eastern
state of Brandenburg was kidnapped by IS fighters while
travelling in Syria in 2013.
His family received an email earlier this year with a video
showing the man alive and a ransom demand, it said.
The video also showed the execution of another hostage which
the German man had witnessed, it said.
After negotiations for the release of the man, who is not
identified in the report, German authorities secured his freedom
Something was given in return for his release, the newspaper
said without giving details. It added that the foreign ministry
"denied having paid a ransom in any form".
The murder of U.S. journalist James Foley, whose beheading
by an IS militant was shown in a video released last week, has
heightened fears in Germany about the growing threat presented
by the group, which controls large swathes of territory in Iraq
Germany has agreed to arm Kurds in northern Iraq who are
Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told Bild am Sonntag
newspaper that about a quarter of the 400 people who had
travelled to Syria from Germany had returned.
"These men have learned to kill and to hate. They represent
a danger to our country," de Maiziere told the paper. He said
not all 100 returnees were potential terrorists or suicide
Der Spiegel magazine said German prosecutors are
investigating at least 139 Germans suspected of being members or
supporters of groups including IS, or of involvement in plans
for violent crimes against the state.
It was unclear from the report where the individuals were or
where the investigations were taking place.
(Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Lynne O'Donnell)