BRITISH hostage Norman Kember and two colleagues have been freed in Iraq.
Special forces released the men during an operation in Baghdad.
The news was announced in London today by Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.
Mr Straw added that he had already spoken to Mr Kember's wife, Pat.
Mr Straw said the military operation was a team effort which involved British forces.
Mr Kember, a retired professor, was seized during a peace mission to Baghdad on November 26.
The 74-year-old grandfather, a former medical physicist at a teaching hospital, was taken hostage with three fellow peace campaigners.
Mr Kember, from Pinner, north-west London, was visiting the country with Christian Peacemaker Teams, a Canada-based international peace group.
The other men were Canadians James Loney, 41, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, and an American, Tom Fox, 54.
Mr Fox was found shot dead in Baghdad this month.
There were signs he had been beaten before being killed.
The grim news raised the prospect that Mr Kember might meet the same fate.
Commenting on today's news, the Rev Alan Betteridge, a friend of Mr Kember for more than 40 years, said: "If it is true we are immensely relieved and thankful, especially after the death of Tom Fox, which made us very fearful.
"We were praying for his release this morning. We have been praying for them every day."
Mr Betteridge is a president of the Baptist Peace Fellowship.
Peace campaigner Bruce Kent, a friend of Mr Kember who has been involved in weekly vigils for his release, said: "This is news beyond belief.
"In this awful mess of Baghdad thank God there is one bright light anyway."
Speaking about his friend's ordeal, he added: "It was absolute torture. And thinking of unfortunate Tom Fox, who was murdered, they must have had the most terrible time."
Mr Straw said Mr Kember had been taken to the high- security Green Zone in Baghdad and was in "reasonable condition".
He said he was "delighted" at the happy ending for the hostages,
He added that Mrs Kember was `'absolutely delighted, elated at this news".