Coalition Forces Rescue Italian, Polish Hostages
By Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 8, 2004 Coalition forces rescued four civilian hostages today south of Baghdad, military officials reported.
Three Italians and one Pole were rescued, Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, Multinational Force Iraq commander, said during a Baghdad news briefing.
They were Salvatore Stefio, Umberto Cupertino and Maurizio Agliana of Italy, and Jerzy Kos of Poland.
The kidnappers executed another Italian hostage, Fabrizio Quattrocchi, soon after the April 12 kidnapping. His execution was videotaped and played back on Arab television.
The general said the hostages were in coalition forces control and are in good health. All the hostages were rescued at the same location, and some individuals were detained at the site, the general said, though he did not provide an exact number or the nationalities of those captured.
Citing security considerations, Sanchez did not give details of the operation or confirm who carried out the kidnapping. But he did say there was "no reported exchange of gunfire" and that the rescue was not the result of any negotiations.
"This is a great day for the released hostages, for the families, for Italy, for all of us," said Italian Ambassador Gianludovico de Martino.
"The operation that led to the release of the hostages is the result of strong cooperation that has been established since the beginning between the Italian authorities, the (Coalition Provisional Authority) and the coalition forces. On behalf of the Italian government, I would like to thank the coalition forces and the CPA for their cooperation and their effort."