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Austrian Man Details Days As Hostage In Algeria

An Austrian man freed from captivity in Algeria described an exhausting ordeal in which he and other kidnapped European tourists were constantly marched around at night in the desert by Islamic militants demanding ransom. The kidnappers “could feel that the military was on their trail,” Gerhard Wintersteller, 63, told the German television network RTL in an interview broadcast today. “We were fleeing every night, had to walk at night. Our shoes were shredded, and we were at the end of our physical strength.” Seventeen Europeans — 10 Austrians, six Germans and a Swede — were flown home and reunited with relatives Wednesday night after Algerian commandos reportedly raided a hideout of the Salafist Group for Call and Combat, an Islamic group that intelligence officials said has received aid from Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network. Full Story

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