Enzo Baldoni

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Baldoni, 56, an Italian freelance journalist, was murdered by kidnappers from a militant group calling itself the Islamic Army in Iraq.

Baldoni, who normally wrote advertising copy, had gone to Iraq to research a book on militant groups, said Enrico Deaglio, editor of the Milan-based weekly magazine, Diario della Settimana. He said Baldoni had agreed to contribute freelance articles to Diario della Settimana from Iraq.

The Italian Foreign Ministry reported Baldoni missing on August 20. He was believed to be heading toward the southern city of Najaf, where U.S. forces had battled with Shiite insurgents for several weeks.

The Qatar-based news channel Al-Jazeera reported that it received a video from the kidnappers showing Baldoni after the killing. The network did not air the videotape, it said, out of sensitivity to his family. Italian officials confirmed Al-Jazeera's report, according to Italy's Ansa news agency.

In a video released two days earlier, on August 24, the kidnappers demanded that Italy withdraw its 3,000 troops from Iraq and said it would not guarantee Baldoni's safety if the demand was not met.

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