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OfflineSkikid16
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Some GOOD news out of Iraq
    #3192945 - 09/28/04 09:04 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Remember those two Italian women hostages, the one cute one, well, they've been released, woooohoooo ...... :grin:  (sucks for all still in captivity)

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Italy celebrates hostages' release

JEREMY CHARLES IN ROME AND FOREIGN STAFF


TWO Italian aid workers freed in Iraq after being held hostage for three weeks arrived in Italy last night, as the entire nation celebrated their safe return.

Simona Pari and Simona Torretta arrived on a Falcon 20 plane at Ciampino military airport in Rome following a stopover in Kuwait shortly after 11pm.

The two, dressed in long dresses, smiled as they got off the plane. They held hands as they walked on the tarmac, their relatives by their side.

Asked by reporters how she felt, Ms Pari said: "Good."

In a flurry of release announcements that raised hopes for at least 18 foreigners still held in captivity in Iraq, French negotiators said they had reached an agreement for the release of two journalists held since August and an Egyptian telephone company said that four engineers snatched last week had been set free.

The sudden movement on the hostage front follows highprofile campaigns by the Italian and French governments to win their citizens? release.

The Italian hostages, Simona Pari and Simona Torretta, both 29, were handed over to Italian Red Cross officials.

Italian news bulletins broadcast footage from the Arabic station Al-Jazeera showing the women being released.

Wearing traditional veils and robes the women appeared in good health and smiled at the camera.

The grainy pictures appeared to have been shot in the desert and the women could be heard saying in Italian: "It?s been tough but we?ve made it."

A Kuwait newspaper reported that the Italian authorities had paid half of a $1 million (?553,000) ransom demand.

Last night, Italian officials would not comment on the ransom report.

As news of the aid workers? release began to sweep through the country well wishers gathered under the balcony of the Pari family?s home in Rimini and there were also similar scenes at the Torretta family?s home in Rome.

Extra police had to be drafted in to divert traffic as huge crowds swamped the streets outside both homes, bringing chaos to rush hour traffic.

When Simona Torretta?s sister, Laura, appeared on the balcony there were huge cheers and applause.

She shouted out: "This is fantastic news. We are delighted. We are all just so happy and overcome with emotion.

"We haven?t yet spoken to Simona but we can?t wait to hold her. We are all just crying tears of joy."

There were also emotional scenes outside the Pari home as her mother Donatella wept with joy after her daughter?s three-week nightmare had ended.

She said: "We are delighted. We just want to spend as much time with her as possible."

Later, Rome?s mayor Walter Veltroni announced that in celebration of the hostages? release the famous Colosseum would be illuminated all night.

The Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, announced news of the women?s release at a hastily arranged press conference at his Palazzo Chigi office.

He said: "This is a moment of great joy. After holding our breath for many days, many nights, many roads and 16 negotiation attempts, the situation has finally been resolved.

He added: "I have heard the voices of the girls in Baghdad and they are fine."

Later Mr Berlusconi addressed the Italian parliament where he was greeted with cheers. He told MPs: "I just want to thank our intelligence services. They have demonstrated a tireless effort and were in constant contact with us during the 16 attempts to secure the girls? freedom."

The two women had been snatched three weeks ago from the Baghdad offices of the charity which employs them, A Bridge for Baghdad.

No video footage or photographs of them was released as has been the case with other hostages.

A week later, a group calling itself the Jihad Organisation announced the women would be executed unless Italy pulled its troops out of Iraq.

Hours after the Italian women?s release, a French negotiator said he had met the two French journalists, Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, who disappeared in Iraq on 21 August.

"They are in good health, psychologically and emotionally. After meeting them, we reached an agreement to free Christian and Georges and get an audio tape from them announcing they would be freed soon," a representative of the French delegation told Al-Arabiya television.

He added: "We were able to reach this agreement without paying any money."

Radical Islamic website claims Bigley is on the verge of freedom

AS THE two Italian aid workers were released last night, Britain still waited for news of the engineer Ken Bigley, whose plight has cast a shadow over the Labour Party Conference.

Italian news reports said that, according to the radical Islamic website al-Qalah, Mr Bigley was to be freed.

The Tawhid and Jihad group, headed by the Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi - who kidnapped Mr Bigley on 16 September - was reported as saying that it was "[freeing] the prisoner and saves his life and warns that all those who collaborate with the aggressor, in whatever form, to leave the country otherwise they will meet the same fate as his predecessors, that is beheading".

Two Americans, Eugene Armstrong and Jack Hensley, were beheaded more than a week ago.

On Saturday, another Islamic website claimed that Mr Bigley had been executed and that seven British soldiers had also been kidnapped.

The website reported that Tawhid and Jihad had announced the news and that a cassette would soon be made available. No cassette appeared.

A delegation of British Muslims who travelled to Iraq to press for the release of Mr Bigley said last night they were confident that the engineer was still alive.

Dr Daud Abdullah, who arrived back from Iraq yesterday with his colleague from the Muslim Council of Britain, Dr Musharraf Hussain, said: "I have no proof that he is dead. As long as there is no proof, I believe that he is alive. People [in Iraq] share the view that he is alive."

In his keynote conference speech, Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, expressed "support and solidarity" with Mr Bigley and his family, adding that his "thoughts and prayers" were with them.

The hostage?s wife, Sombat, broke down yesterday as she pleaded for his life and vowed to take religious orders if her prayers were answered.

STILL HELD - THE REMAINING VICTIMS

OF THE more than 100 foreign hostages taken in Iraq, more than a dozen - including Italian Fabrizio Quattrocchi and United States citizens Nick Berg, Jack Hensley, Eugene Armstrong - have been killed. Dozens more have been released.

Apart from Kenneth Bigley, those hostages still known to be held are:

? Mohammed Rifat, Canadian, taken on 8 April.
? Wael Mamduh, Jordanian, 12 April.
? Saad Saadoun, Kuwaiti, 5 June.
? Ali Ahmed Mousa, Somali, 29 July.
? Georges Malbrunot, French, 21 August.
? Christian Chesnot, French, 21 August.
? Dalibor Lazarevski, Macedonian, 21 August.
? Dragan Markovic, Macedonian, 21 August.
? Zoran Naskovski, Macedonian, 21 August.
? Khalifa al-Breizat, Jordanian, 14 September.

In addition, at least five unidentified hostages from Jordan, two from Turkey and one from Syria are being held.

But it is not just foreigners who are suffering at the hands of the Iraqi kidnappers.

Criminal gangs have taken scores of people off the country?s streets, holding them until a ransom is paid, often killing them if it is not.


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OfflineZahid
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Registered: 01/21/02
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Re: Some GOOD news out of Iraq [Re: Skikid16]
    #3192994 - 09/28/04 09:15 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

As I predicted.


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OfflineSkikid16
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Re: Some GOOD news out of Iraq [Re: Zahid]
    #3193027 - 09/28/04 09:23 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

What, you predicted they would be released?

They should've never been taken captive in the first place.


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OfflineZahid
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Re: Some GOOD news out of Iraq [Re: Skikid16]
    #3193030 - 09/28/04 09:24 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

True, but they're still released. I don't know who it was, but someone tried to tell me that they were beheaded. I told them that is highly unlikely since they are women and predicted their release.

Lo and behold.


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OfflineSkikid16
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Registered: 06/27/02
Posts: 5,666
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Re: Some GOOD news out of Iraq [Re: Zahid]
    #3193050 - 09/28/04 09:29 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Yeah, I think it was Great_Satan that tried to post it. That's why I posted it.


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Offlined33p
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Re: Some GOOD news out of Iraq [Re: Skikid16]
    #3193120 - 09/28/04 09:39 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Post pictures of the cute one.


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OfflineSkikid16
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Re: Some GOOD news out of Iraq [Re: d33p]
    #3193149 - 09/28/04 09:47 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

The one on the left

I saw a better picture of her, but I'm not sure if it was on TV.


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OfflineZahid
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Re: Some GOOD news out of Iraq [Re: Skikid16]
    #3193190 - 09/28/04 09:54 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)



The one on the left?


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OfflineSkikid16
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Re: Some GOOD news out of Iraq [Re: Zahid]
    #3193350 - 09/29/04 12:16 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

The one on the left.


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