Italian Hostage Salvatore Santoro Murdered
An Italian captive identified as Salvatore Santoro has been killed by his captors in Iraq, Aljazeera television reported. Aljazeera on Thursday broadcast pictures of Santoro’s passport and showed him sitting bound and blindfolded in a ditch with a gun to his head. In separate footage, four masked and armed men were shown reading a statement. Quoting a statement from the “Islamic Movement of Iraqi Mujahidin”, Aljazeera said Santoro had been killed after the group had found evidence that he supported the Americans.
In Rome, the ANSA news agency earlier reported, citing Italian intelligence sources, that Santoro, 52, from the southern Campania region near Naples, had been taken captive. The Italian foreign ministry said an Iraqi photographer had been shown a passport and body that could be Santoro’s.
But Italian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini said “everything should be treated with the utmost caution”. “There are still many obscure aspects and for this reason we have to use the conditional,” said the foreign minister in a televised interview via telephone.
A group of people took the photographer to Ramadi, in western Iraq, “where they showed him the body of a man and a passport. “The document was in the name of Salvatore Santoro, born in Naples on the 10th of January 1952, an Italian citizen who had lived for several years in Britain”, the minister added.