RealNews

Italian Hostage Release Delay Fuels Fears, Rumors

Hopes for the imminent release of three Italian security workers kidnapped in Iraq dimmed on Thursday as Italy’s government tried to stamp out rumors it had paid a five million euro ransom to have them freed. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Wednesday a ransom “hasn’t even been talked about” but speculation about the hostage situation has grown after he admitted “there has been a delay” in their release. “Hostages: negotiating between hope, disappointment and rage,” was the headline of Il Messaggero daily on Thursday. La Stampa said: “Ransom for hostages; Berlusconi denies it.” Kidnappers have killed one of four private security workers abducted last week and have said they will kill the other three unless Italy withdraws a contingent of 2,700 troops forming part of the U.S.-led force occupying Iraq. Full Story

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