These are the key developments since the five Britons were kidnapped in Baghdad.
* May 29
Five British contractors are seized by about 40 armed men wearing police uniforms at the Iraqi Finance Ministry in Baghdad.
They are taken in the direction of Baghdad's sprawling Shiite district of Sadr City.
One of the hostages is Peter Moore, an IT consultant from Lincoln, who was working in Iraq for BearingPoint, an American management consultancy.
The four other men - later named only as Alan and Jason from Scotland, and Alec and a second man called Jason from Wales - were employed as security guards by the Canadian security firm GardaWorld to protect Mr Moore.
Iraqi officials initially blame the Mahdi Army, loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr, for the kidnapping.
Then prime minister Tony Blair promises the British Government will do everything possible to help free the men.
* December 4
The kidnappers issue a video warning that one hostage will be killed "as a first warning" unless British troops are withdrawn from Iraq within 10 days.
The film, broadcast on Dubai-based TV station Al-Arabiya, shows two gunmen in front of a sign marked "the Islamic Shiite Resistance in Iraq" flanking one of the Britons, who says the kidnapped men feel they have been "forgotten".
Experts note it is unusual for Shiite militias to release videos of captives, a tactic more commonly used by al Qaida and other militant Sunni groups.
* December 9
On a visit to Iraq, Prime Minister Gordon Brown calls for the immediate release of the five men and says hostage-taking will not alter British policy.
* December 12
The families of the hostages appeal for them to be freed before Christmas, saying they are "never out of our thoughts".
In a televised message read by former archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey, the relatives say they remain "serious and committed" to exploring all options to bring about the men's safe return.
* February 26
Al-Arabiya TV broadcasts another video clip received from the kidnappers. It shows Mr Moore asking Mr Brown to free nine Iraqis in exchange for the release of the five Britons.
* February 29
The families of the five men issue a direct appeal to their kidnappers. In a statement read by Pauline Sweeney, Mr Moore's stepmother, they say: "Please, show the world your true humanity, and let our loved ones go."
* March 5
The Islamic Shiite Resistance in Iraq, the group that claims to be holding the men, posts a response to Mrs Sweeney's appeal on the internet.
It says: "We understand your feelings as a mother who misses her son and we ask you in return to feel for the Iraqi mothers who miss their children jailed in your government's prisons for no crime they committed."
* March 7
The hostages' relatives reply by making a renewed appeal for the five men to be freed.
Mrs Sweeney says they share the anguish of all Iraqi mothers and families with loved ones in captivity, and insists they and the captives are "in no way" politically involved.
* May 29
On the first anniversary of the kidnapping, the UK's ambassador to Iraq, Christopher Prentice, makes an appeal to the abductors in Arabic for the captives to be freed.
Their relatives speak of their agonising year-long wait and of their belief that the men will eventually be released.
* July 19
The kidnappers release a new video in which they claim that one of the hostages committed suicide on May 25. This cannot be independently verified.
The video, which is passed to the Sunday Times, also features footage of Alan pleading with the Government to take action to allow him to return home to his family in Scotland.
* March 22
The hostage-takers send a video to the British Embassy in Baghdad in which they demand the release of the founder of the Iran-backed militia group the League of the Righteous, who is in US custody.
The film also shows Mr Moore saying the captives are being treated well and urging the Government to secure their release.
* May 28
A day before the second anniversary of the kidnapping, the men's families speak of their continuing hopes for their loved ones' release.
Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary David Miliband pleads with the hostage-takers to free the Britons "immediately and unconditionally".
* June 20
Mr Miliband says the remains of two bodies were passed to Britain by the Iraqi authorities and the British authorities are trying to confirm their identities.
Of the efforts to ensure the safe release of the two men, he says "all of us have clearly failed".
* June 21
The two bodies are revealed to be security guards Jason Creswell, originally from Glasgow, and Jason Swindlehurst, originally from Skelmersdale.
* June 22
Gordon Brown demands the release of the three remaining hostages - IT consultant Mr Moore and the two other guards named only as Alan, from Scotland, and Alec, from south Wales. He said there is "no justification" for hostage-taking.
Mr Moore's father Graham angrily condemns Mr Miliband as a "total waste of space" and says waiting for news of his son is "torture".
* July 29
The families of Alan McMenemy, from Glasgow, and Alec MacLachlan, from Llanelli, south Wales, are told by the Government that they are "very likely" to have died. They make a televised appeal to the hostage takers with Peter Moore's relatives, asking the militants to return their bodies and to let Mr Moore come back alive.
* September 2
A body believed to be a British hostage is passed to authorities in Iraq.
Gordon Brown says he is "deeply saddened" by the news.
* September 3
Gordon Brown announces with "deepest regret" that the body is that of Mr MacLachlan.
* September 7
The body of Mr MacLachlan is returned home on an RAF flight, the Foreign Office confirms.
* September 28
It is reported that nearly 100 members of a militant group suspected of links to the kidnapping of the five Britons have been released from prison.
* December 18
Relatives of Mr Moore and Mr McMenemy make renewed appeals for their release
* December 30
Mr Moore is freed.Reuse content