Italian Engineer Kidnapped in Syria

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An Italian engineer has been kidnapped in Syria along with two other workers from the steel works in the port city of Latakia, the foreign ministry in Rome said Monday.

"In all such cases, the safety of our countryman is of the utmost priority and it is indispensable to be as discreet as possible," Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said in a statement, without revealing any further details about the kidnap victims.

The ministry's crisis unit has "activated all available channels" and the Italian's family has been informed, the ministry said.

Italian media named the engineer as Mario Belluomo from Catania in Sicily, who worked at the steel plant in Syria's principle port city. According to the reports, he was kidnapped in nearby Tartus, another port city.

"We are working with the utmost commitment and with the same dedication with which our embassies and consulates give assistance daily to our countrymen in difficulty, including in risky regions and situations," he said.

Terzi said his thoughts went to the kidnapped men and to Giovanni Lo Porto, an Italian taken hostage in Pakistan in January, who has yet to be freed.

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