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Italian hostage released after 'complex' foreign op: PM

IANS 

Rome, 22 May (IANS/AKI) Italian hostage Alessandro has been freed from captivity "after a complex operation in foreign territory", said on Wednesday after a jihadist group in announced had been freed.

"Compatriot Alessandro has been released after a complex operation in foreign territory," Conte said in a statement.

The operation "was carried out in a coordinated manner involving synergies by Italy's intelligence services, judicial police and the Foreign Ministry's crisis unit," the statement said.

Earlier, hardline militant rebel group Tahrir al-Sham, which largely controls the embattled northwest Syrian province of Idlib, said kidnappers had "recently" freed Sandrini, without saying where.

Sandrini had been held by a gang that demanded ransom payments, Tahrir al-Sham's administrative arm, the so-called 'Salvation government' said in a statement carried by the news agency.

For his personal safety, the 'Salvation government' had undertaken "indirect" negotiations with Sandrini's captors and has been in touch with Italian authorities to arrange his handover, the statement quoted the anti-government group's 'Deputy Interior Minister' as saying.

Sandrini, 32, who is from the northern Italian city of Folzano, vanished in October 2016 after boarding a flight to the southern Turkish city of Adana, allegedly for a week's holiday. He called his mother a year later to ask for help, saying he had been abducted and did not know where he was or who was holding him.

In a video published by US terrorism tracking organisation SITE last July, Sandrini, clad in an orange jump-suit and flanked by rifle-toting masked gunmen, asked the to help secure his release, saying: "They will kill me".

--IANS/AKI

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, May 22 2019. 23:20 IST
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