Four Italian journalists go home

2013-04-14 08:37
Syrian fighters. (File, AP)

Syrian fighters. (File, AP)

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Rome - Four Italian journalists held hostage in Syria for more than a week have been freed, Prime Minister Mario Monti announced on Saturday, and they were flown home from Turkey.

Italian media reported that the four, who worked for state television network RAI, arrived in Rome aboard a small government jet.

Monti earlier issued a statement announcing their release but giving no details.

He thanked the unidentified Italian officials involved for their "professionalism" in seeing through an operation "made all the more complicated by the extreme danger of the situation."

The four - three freelancers and a RAI reporter - had been abducted on 4 April while filming in northern Syria.

"We were taken by an armed Islamist group that was not part of the (rebel) Free Syrian Army. It was a misunderstanding," the reporter, Amedeo Ricucci, told the official Italian news agency ANSA from Turkey.

He said they were moved often during their days of captivity. They were not mistreated, he said.

Italian media said the four were seized as they filmed graffiti on the walls of a church in a Syrian town that used to be predominantly Christian but which now serves as a base for the Al-Nusra Front, a rebel force linked to al-Qaeda.

Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  syria

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