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Plane Carrying Cantoni Back To Italy Leaves Kabul

Clementina Cantoni 10 June 2005 -- An Italian air force jet carrying freed Italian aid worker Clementina Cantoni has taken off from Afghanistan's capital Kabul, bound for Rome.

The 32-year-old Cantoni was freed yesterday after 24 days in captivity. Afghan President Hamid Karzai today praised the work of the country's Interior Ministry as well as tribal leaders for helping win her release.

Karzai's office said Cantoni's release was the result of efforts by security forces and many segments of society including tribal elders and Muslim clerics.

Her kidnappers were described as members of a "criminal gang."

Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi says he is overjoyed and deeply relieved by Cantoni's release.