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By FRANCES D'EMILIO, Associated Press / Aug 24, 4:17 PM EDT.
ROME (AP) - Suspected regime loyalists kidnapped four Italian journalists and killed their local driver in Libya as the group traveled down a highway to Tripoli on Wednesday, the Italian foreign ministry said.
The ministry said the four were abducted on a stretch of highway between Zawiya, a town 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of Tripoli, and the Libyan capital.
Those kidnapped include two reporters from Milan daily Corriere della Sera, one from Turin's La Stampa and one from Avvenire, the daily of the Italian Catholic bishops Conference, the ministry said.
Corriere della Sera said on its website that the journalists were first stopped by a group of civilians, who then "handed them over to military men faithful to Gadhafi who brought them to a private house," and that first contact from the Avvenire journalist came hours later.
Avvenire's foreign news editor, Fabio Carminati, told Sky TG24 TV in a telephone interview from the paper's Milan office that its reporter, Claudio Monici, called the newsroom to say all four journalists were OK and had been taken to a house.