Italian hostage reportedly executed in Iraq


Italian authorities have responded cautiously to reports that an Italian national may have been taken hostage and killed in Iraq.

The Italian Foreign Ministry is investigating a claim by an Iraqi photographer who said militants showed him the body of a man together with an Italian passport.

It said the report was being verified and until confirmed should be treated with caution.

"A terrorist group could have seized a local photographer in Ramadi who was then shown the body and the passport of a man.

That man is reported to be Salvatore Santoro, born in Naples on January 10th, 1952, an Italian citizen, resident for years in Britain," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

It said neither the Italian embassy in Iraq nor the Foreign Ministry had a record of a Salvatore Santoro in Iraq.

The Italian news agency Ansa had reported on Wednesday that an Italian man it named as Salvatore Santoro had been kidnapped in Iraq. It said he worked for a British non-governmental organisation (NGO).