Italian female hostages may be held by Al-Qaeda operative Zarqawi

Wext: Monday, 20.September. @ 00:00:00 CEST


19 / 09 / 2004, ROME ( AFP ) - Two Italian female aid workers abducted in Iraq may be in the hands of Al-Qaeda's number two operative Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi.

La Repubblica daily cited American intelligence sources as saying they believed Simona Pari and Simona Torretta, who were taken at gunpoint from their Baghdad offices along with two Iraqi colleagues on September 7, were kidnapped by the same group that has threatened to execute two Americans and a Briton held hostage.

Iraq's Deputy Foreign Minister Hamid al-Bayati, who is in Italy on a private visit, also said he believed the two women may be held by Zarqawi.

"According to the information we have, they were kidnapped by criminals who may have sold them to members of Zarqawi's group," the minister told Italian television Saturday.

La Repubblica said it believed the Al-Qaeda cell was holding the women as they were kidnapped in the same manner as the two Americans and Briton who were snatched from their Baghdad homes on September 16.

The two women were taken from their office by armed gunmen.

Italy's leading daily Corriere della Sera said it was unlikely they were being held in the same location as the three other Westerners and noted that the two women had yet to be shown on video as was the case with the other hostages.

Source: AFP

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