Italian hostages facing death

An Arab TV station showed a video today of what it said were three Italian hostages in Iraq, with their captors’ threatening to kill them.

An Arab TV station showed a video today of what it said were three Italian hostages in Iraq, with their captors’ threatening to kill them.

The three men are shown in the video, sitting behind a small table and eating from a large pot with their fingers. The hostages are bearded. It was not clear when the video was made.

The three men, who were working in Iraq as private security guards, were kidnapped on April 12 as they took a taxi from Baghdad. A fourth Italian who was abducted with them was later executed.

Al-Arabiya TV quoted an Iraqi armed group called the Green Brigade as threatening to execute the three captives if Italian authorities prevented protests against the government’s policy on Iraq.

Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s conservative government has been a strong ally of the US administration. After the Iraq war, 3,000 Italian troops and paramilitary troops were deployed in Iraq for reconstruction and humanitarian missions.

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