The Chinese Embassy in Baghdad says eight Chinese workers held hostage in Iraq have been freed by insurgents who kidnapped them earlier this month.
The kidnappers said in a video message broadcast Saturday that they decided to release the men after China promised to discourage its citizens from traveling to Iraq.
There is no word on the whereabouts of the Chinese hostages, who were working in Iraq as construction laborers before they were seized. However, China's official Xinhua news agency says the Chinese Embassy in Baghdad confirmed the men had been released.
An Arabic television station Al-Arabiya broadcast the statement from the insurgents, who call themselves the Movement of the Islamic Resistance - Nuamaan Brigades. It said the hostages had not been harmed, and that no ransom had been paid.
The kidnappers, who said four days ago that they were planning to kill the hostages within 48 hours, announced today that the eight men were released as a good-will gesture following assurances that China would counsel its citizens not to travel to Iraq in the future.
Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.