September 07, 2004

Two Italian Women Taken Hostage In Iraq

Their names are Simona Pari and Simona Torretta (the latter pictured right). They were in Baghdad working for a humanitarian organization. The question of the day: will the Arab world rise up and demand their safe release? Reuters:

Gunmen have abducted two Italian aid workers and two Iraqis in central Baghdad in a brazen attack that will alarm foreigners who are already on edge from widespread kidnappings.

Witnesses told Reuters about 20 men with AK-47 assault rifles and pistols with silencers stopped their vehicles in a busy commercial area of Baghdad and raided a building housing humanitarian organisation Bridge to Baghdad.

They left with Italian staffers Simona Pari and Simona Torretta and two Iraqis, a women who worked for another Italian organisation Intersos and a male engineer who worked for Bridge to Baghdad.

The abductions raised the stakes in kidnappings that have gripped Iraq for months, with more than 100 foreigners and Iraqis seized since April mostly outside of the capital.

The latest abductions are likely to fuel uncertainty over the fate of two French journalists whose kidnappings have triggered intense diplomatic efforts to free them.

Insurgents kidnapped and killed Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni last month as he travelled to the southern city of Najaf. In April, kidnappers killed Italian security guard Fabrizio Quattrocchi.

In the Bullpen notes that "A Bridge to Baghdad is an organization attempting to end sanctions to Iraq and provide more international support for the nation." Nice. Next thing you know they will be grabbing Mother Theresa's corpse and threatening to behead it.

Others: The Command Post, Jeff Quinton, In the Bullpen, James Joyner

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 12:38 PM | Comments |