Foreign minister ‘shocked’ at death of two Italians in Libya
Malta condemns barbaric deaths of two Italian nationals kidnapped by ISIS in Libya
3 March 2016, 3:54pm
Two Italians were killed in Libya on Wednesday, during an exchange of fire between security forces and ISIS fighters. Witness reports that they were used as human shields.
“Malta condemns these killings most categorically and expresses its profound distress at this announcement,” foreign affairs minister George Vella said.
The minister conveyed government’s sympathy and support to Italy and extended his heartfelt condolences to the relatives of the victims.
He underlined Malta’s outright condemnation of such barbaric acts, irrespective of who the perpetrators are.
Earlier, the Italian foreign ministry said that two of a group of four Italians kidnapped in Libya last year may have been killed in a shooting.
"As regards the publication of some images of victims of a shooting in the region of Sabratha in Libya, apparently traceable to westerners, the foreign ministry communicates that those images, with the bodies still unavailable, could be two of the four Italian employees of the Bonatti construction firm kidnapped in July 2015," the ministry said in a statement.
It named the possible victims as Fausto Piano and Salvatore Failla. The ministry said it is verifying the situation, while stressing that this was difficult without the bodies, and that it has informed the families.
The two Italians were held prisoner by ISIS and are said to have been killed on the outskirts of Sabratha.
The convoy they were travelling in came under attack by a militia group and all the passengers were killed, the sources said.
The bodies were recovered by the militias, they said.
A Libyan witness who is in Tunis after leaving Sabratha told Italian news agency ANSA that two Italians killed in a shooting "were used as human shields" by ISIS jidahists.
The witness said that the two were killed "in clashes" with local militias on Wednesday in the south of the city, in the area of Surman.
Libyan medical sources had previously said that at least seven people were killed on an attack by local militias on an ISIS hideout in the Sabratha area, while two jihadists, a Syrian and a Tunisian, were captured and three others escaped.
Piano and Failla were taken captive along with Gino Pollicardo and Filippo Calcagno, who also work for Parma-based oilfield construction and maintenance company Bonatti.
They were captured in the area of Mellitah, in western Libya some 60km from Tripoli, near to a facility of the Mellitah Oil Gas Company, a partner of Italian oil-and-gas company Eni oil and gas company complex.
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