New York

'No knowledge' of al-Qaeda behind Libya kidnappings (2)

Italy foreign minister 'can't confirm or deny'

'No knowledge' of al-Qaeda behind Libya kidnappings (2)

New York, September 22 - Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni on Thursday downplayed reports that al-Qaeda Islamist terror group has abducted two Italians in Libya. "We have no knowledge of al-Qaeda being behind the kidnapping of our two fellow nationals," Gentiloni told reporters in New York. "At this time we are not able to confirm or deny" a statement by a spokesperson for the Libyan forces loyal to Tobruk General Khalifa Haftar. "It is essential that we let investigators do their job with maximum confidentiality," Gentiloni added. "The two Italians kidnapped in south-west Libya were abducted by a criminal gang and behind them is al-Qaeda's fingerprint," Colonel Ahmed al Mismari told the Alwasat website earlier today. Bruno Cacace, a 56-year-old from Borgo San Dalmazzo, near Cuneo, and Danilo Calonego, a 66-year-old from the province of Belluno, were abducted three days ago along with a Canadian colleague by armed men near the southern Libyan city of Ghat, near the Algerian border. All three work for a company that performed maintenance operations at Ghat airport - Con.I.Cos, which is based in Mondovi', near the northern Italian city of Cuneo.

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