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28 September 2004 -- Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has confirmed that kidnappers in Iraq have freed two Italian women taken hostage three weeks ago.
Berlusconi said, "Finally a moment of joy, the two girls are well and will be able to return to their loved ones tonight."
Aid workers Simona Toretta and Simona Pari were abducted along with two Iraqis on 7 September from the offices of their aid organization.
The two were reportedly handed over to the Italian charge d'affaires in Baghdad.
Also today, at least four of six Egyptians held hostage in Iraq were released. All were employed by the Egyptian telecom giant Orascom and were abducted last week. A statement from Orascom said the company is working to free the remaining two Egyptians still being held.
Two Iraqis taken hostage at the same time were also freed today.
(Reuters/AFP/AP)For the latest news on Iraq, see RFE/RL's webpage on "The New Iraq".