4 abducted Italian journalists freed in Libya
Rome, August 25, 2011
Four Italian journalists abducted in Libya were freed unharmed on Thursday, the Italian foreign ministry said.
They were seized on Wednesday morning by armed men who killed their driver and then held them in an apartment in Tripoli.
Two of the journalists worked for Corriere della Sera, while the others were reporters for La Stampa and Avvenire newspapers.
They were rescued on Thursday by two Libyans who broke into the Tripoli apartment where they were being held, Corriere said on its website.
"I am well, I'm thinking of the family and the people close to the driver who lost his life helping us journalists do our job," Avvenire's Claudio Monici said in an interview broadcast on Sky Italia television soon after they were released.
The kidnappers beat up the driver before killing him, said Monici, who was close to tears. He said the driver had been due to meet his family in Tripoli.
"We were shoulder to shoulder when they shot him," Monici said. "I saw he was begging for his life."
The men who surrounded the car on Wednesday appeared to be angry and nervous with bloodshot eyes, and accused the Italians of being part of a Nato campaign to bomb and kill Libyans, he added.
Italian officials had earlier said they were seized near Zawiyah, on the coastal highway 50 km (30 miles) west of Tripoli, but another of the kidnapped reporters said they were abducted inside the Libyan capital.
Once Muammar Gaddafi's closest ally in Europe, Italy switched sides in April to support the rebel movement. – Reuters