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U.S. Forces Free Italian, Polish Hostages In Iraq

8 June 2004 -- The U.S. military in Iraq says its soldiers freed three Italian hostages and one Polish hostage near Baghdad today.

U.S. Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez said there was no reported gunfire during the rescue operation, and he said they arrested "some individuals" without being specific.

Speaking in Rome, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said the rescue operation was complex and no deal had been cut for their release. "Certainly it was a complex operation with information that led the prime minister, the under-secretary of the cabinet and myself to agree that this morning would be the right time to take this action," Frattini said.

The three Italians, private security guards abducted in April, were escorted to a Baghdad airport to catch a flight home. The Pole, a construction-company official abducted last week, was taken to the Polish Embassy in Baghdad.

(compiled from wire reports)