Italians freed from Islamic State in western Libya

Italians freed from Islamic State in western Libya

Italians freed from Islamic State in western Libya

On Thursday the Italian foreign ministry announced that the two other hostages, Fausto Piano and Salvatore Failla, had likely been killed in clashes between IS fighters and local militia fighters near Sabratha.

The four Italian hostages were all working for the Bonatti construction company in Libya when they were kidnapped last July, apparently for ransom. They were kidnapped near a compound owned by the oil and gas group Eni.

Sabratha is one of several Libyan cities where IS militants have established a presence in Libya.

He also confirmed that two other Italian hostages had been killed in recent clashes between IS militants and troops loyal to the Tripoli government and their allied militias. There was no immediate confirmation of this.

Libyan security forces said they killed seven suspected Islamic State fighters in a raid on a militant hideout in Sabratha on Wednesday.

Corriere della Sera newspaper reported on Friday that part of a ransom had been handed over prior to Wednesday's attack. It stressed that it couldn't confirm the identities because officials don't have access to the bodies. Prosecutors in Rome are investigating the circumstances surrounding the kidnapping in the former Italian colony.

Rome last month allowed armed American drones to fly out of the Sicilian air base of Sigonella for military operations against Islamic State in Libya and across North Africa, a breakthrough for Washington after more than a year of negotiations, USA officials told The Wall Street Journal.

Italy has said it is ready to send a much larger contingent there to help train local forces as soon as the U.N.-backed unity government is formed.

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