Italian Journalist Abucted in Iraq Has Been Released Print E-mail

Italian Journalist Abucted in Iraq Has Been Released


Published: March 4, 2005

ROME, March 4 - An Italian journalist who was abucted last month in Iraq has been released, the Italian government said today.

The reporter, Giuliana Sgrena, who works for the leftist daily Il Manifesto, was kidnapped on Feb. 4 while she was interviewing people near Baghdad University.

The plight of Ms. Sgrena, 56, has been on the front pages of Italian newspapers constantly since then, especially late last month when a videotape was released showing her begging for her freedom and urging that all troops, including those from Italy, leave Iraq.

Italy has roughly 3,000 troops in Iraq, but popular opinion was against the war, and there has been much debate about whether the country's troops should remain there.

Two separate Islamic militant groups claimed to have taken her, and threatened to kill her if Italy did not withdraw its troops from Iraq.

Ms. Sgrena might be back in Rome later today, Italy's under secretary for foreign affairs, Margherita Boniver, said, according to The Associated Press.

Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini expressed "great joy and enormous satisfaction," the ANSA news agency said. Her release was first reported by the Al-Jazeera television channel.

The headline on Il Manifesto's Web site reporting her release read, "Giuliana Sgrena Has Been Freed!" At a political congress for communists taking place today, applause broke out when the news was announced.

No thanks whatsoever to the U.S military-gung-ho to the last,who killed an Italian Intelligence Agent & wounded Giuliana in the process!!
Let's hope Giuliana is safely back on Italian soil before the U.S. mil. "mistakenly" do anything else!!


Paper:Sgrena wounded by US fire
Friday 04 March 2005 7:22 PM GMT

Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena, earlier reported released in Iraq, was wounded when US troops fired on the convoy transporting her, her newspaper said.

Freed Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena was wounded when US troops opened fire on a convoy carrying her to safety, and an Italian mediator who help negotiate her release was killed, her newspaper Il Manifesto said on Friday. 

"She was going in a car to the airport with three people from the Italian security forces. US forces opened fire on the car. She is fine but there are wounded," Il Manifesto's editorial director Francesco Paterno said. 

Sgrena was taken to a US-run hospital for treatment for wounds to her shoulder, the newspaper said. 

Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi confirmed late on Friday that US troops had fired on Sgrena's convoy as it approached a checkpoint. 

Shot dead 

Berlusconi's office also announced that the US ambassador to Italy had been summoned over the matter. 

"As the fire came from American forces, I decided to summon the US ambassador immediately," Berlusconi told a news conference. 

The mediator, an Italian secret service agent, was shot dead in the incident, Il Manifesto said.     

Sgrena, 56, was kidnapped by armed men near Baghdad University where she had been interviewing refugees from last year's US assault on Falluja. 

Il Manifesto's editorial director Francesco Paterno said he had been informed of Sgrena's release by an Italian official in charge of the secret service. 

 "It's been confirmed. Gianni Letta confirmed it. They have her," said Paterno, without giving any further details. 

Italy's President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi also confirmed that Sgrena had been released.


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