updated 2/7/2005 3:11:05 PM ET 2005-02-07T20:11:05

U.S. troops manning a checkpoint Monday found four Egyptian technicians who had been kidnapped the previous day in Baghdad, freeing them and arresting some of the abductors, an Egyptian diplomat said.

“It’s the Americans who freed them,” Farooq Mabrouk, head of the Egyptian mission, told The Associated Press. “They were released and they will come to the embassy.”

He said the Americans had “made some arrests” but gave no further information.

The four were seized Sunday on their way to work in western Baghdad. They were employed by a subcontractor for an Iraqi mobile telephone company.

Six other Egyptians working for Iraqna were kidnapped in two separate incidents in September. Four were freed quickly and the last two were released in October.

Orascom has said that despite the kidnappings, the company is committed to continuing its work in Iraq.

Italian journalist
In a separate kidnapping, an Internet statement posted Monday in the name of the militant group alleged to be holding an Italian journalist said she would be released in a few days.

Image: Giuliana Sgrena
G. Giglia  /  EPA via Sipa Press file
Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena, pictured in July 2003, was kidnapped in Baghdad, Iraq, on Friday.
Giuliana Sgrena, a 56-year-old reporter for the communist daily Il Manifesto, was kidnapped on Friday near Baghdad University.

A group calling itself the Islamic Jihad Organization claimed to have kidnapped the woman and gave Italy 72 hours to withdraw its troops from Iraq. But it made no threats to kill her or say what would happen if its demands were not met.

“After the judicial committee of the Jihad Organization interrogated the Italian captive Giuliana Sgrena, it has been found that the Italian captive is not involved in spying for the infidels in Iraq,” the group said in a statement posted on a Web site that frequently carries messages from Islamic militants.

“In response to the appeal made by the Muslim Scholars’ Association, we, in the Jihad Organization, will free the Italian captive in the next few days,” the statement added.

The statement’s authenticity could not be verified.

Italy has around 3,000 troops in Iraq, the coalition’s third largest contingent after those of the United States and Britain.

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