2 Italian hostages freed in Libya

GMT 13:00 2016 Friday ,04 March

Arab Today, arab today 2 Italian hostages freed in Libya

The Libyan city of Sabratha has been the scene of intense fighting between local militias and IS since a US attack
Tripoli - Arab Today

Two Italians kidnapped last July in Libya were freed Friday in a raid on Islamic State jihadist group hideouts in a city near the capital, an official said.

"Two Italian hostages were released... in Sabratha after an operation targeting several houses after information reached security forces that Daesh elements were there," the city's mayor Hussein al-Dawadi said, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

"They are now at a police station in Sabratha," 70 kilometres (40 miles) east of Tripoli, he added.

Gino Pollicardo, 55, and Filippo Calcagno, 65, said in a statement released by the Sabratha municipality: "We are free and are relatively well physically but are psychologically exhausted. We urgently need to return to Italy."

Pollicardo's tearful wife told Italian media: "It's over, I spoke to him on the phone."

Italy's foreign ministry confirmed the release of the two Italians, adding that they were in good health.

The ministry "confirms that the two Italians kidnapped in Libya in July, Filippo Calcagno and Gino Pollicardo, technicians of the Bonatti company, are no longer in the hands of their captors," it said a statement.

"They are now under the protection of the Sabratha military council and are in good health," it added.

Both men were among four employees of Italian construction company Bonatti who were kidnapped in July 2015 in the Mellitah region west of Tripoli.

Italy said on Thursday that the two others had probably been killed in clashes between IS fighters and local militiamen near Sabratha.

Rome's prosecution office, which is investigating the kidnapping, said Fausto Piano and Salvatore Failla had been separated from Pollicardo and Calcagno.

Sabratha has been the scene of intense fighting between local militias and IS since a US attack last month on an IS training camp on the outskirts of the city killed 50 people.

IS subsequently seized the centre of the city, only to be pushed back to its outskirts last week.
Source :AFP

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