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Militants release footage of Italian hostage, demand troop pullout
Updated: 2004-08-25 02:15

A group calling itself the Islamic Army in Iraq released footage of an Italian journalist it said was in their custody and gave Rome 48 hours to announce a troop pullout from Iraq.

The videotape aired by the Arabic satellite news channel Al-Jazeera showed the hostage and Italian state television confirmed he was Enzo Baldoni, correspondent of the Diario della Settimana weekly, who had been missing since Thursday.

"A group calling itself 'the Islamic Army in Iraq' has said it abducted an Italian who claims to be a journalist ... and gave Italy 48 hours to announce a decision to withdraw its troops from Iraq," Al-Jazeera said.

The group warned Italy of the consequences of not responding clearly to the ultimatum, it said without specifying the reprisals.

The Italian government swiftly responded that it would maintain its 3,000 troops in Iraq despite the ultimatum.

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