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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 April, 2004, 18:12 GMT 19:12 UK
Italian hostage hoped to start family
Fabrizio Quattrocchi
Quattrocchi was only planning to be in Iraq for a month
Proclaimed a "hero" who wanted to stare his killers in the eye, Italy's executed hostage has also emerged as a man keen to settle down with a family.

Fabrizio Quattrocchi, 36, was shot in the back of the neck by his Iraqi captors, after Italy refused their demands that it withdraw from Iraq.

Born in Sicily and raised in the northern city of Genoa, he went to Iraq to earn good money as a security guard.

But it seems his mother thought he was working in Kosovo.

Only when he was kidnapped did she know Fabrizio had gone to Iraq.

Specially trained

In fact, he had been contacted back in November and offered security work, Italian papers said on Thursday.

He was well qualified. He gave up his job as a baker in 2000, and took security courses in the field, worked as a nightclub bouncer and a bodyguard, and was specially trained to guard oil pipelines.

He was also keen on martial arts, his family told the press.

The wages were much better than he could get in the average Italian security job - at 10,000 euros ($12,500) a month.

He hoped to be able to buy a house with his fiancee and start a family, reports said.

The plan had been to work in Iraq only for a month, but he stayed.

"Maybe he found himself in too big a situation for him," his brother, Davide, told the Italian newspaper La Stampa.

'Died a hero'

He was working for a US-based security company, along with two of the other Italians taken hostage. The fourth was employed by a Seychelles-based firm, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said.

The four were abducted outside Baghdad on Monday by a group calling itself the Green Battalion.

After the Italian government refused to bow to their demands, Mr Quattrocchi was shot dead.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini
Mr Frattini faced hostages' relatives on live television
"When the murderers were pointing a pistol at him, this man tried to take off his hood and shouted: 'Now I'm going to show you how an Italian dies'. And they killed him," Mr Frattini said.

"He died a hero."

As the news reached Italy that one of the hostages was dead, relatives of the other three had an agonising wait on live television before they found out who it was.

'Russian roulette'

They had joined Mr Frattini on a TV show to discuss Italy's presence in Iraq, when the news came through. The programme continued as they sat waiting to hear more.

Critics said the programme turned into an "obscene reality show".

The La Repubblica newspaper said close relatives of the hostages "suddenly found themselves protagonists in an unexpected game of Russian roulette".

Francesco Cupertino, whose brother Umberto is one of the captives, asked the minister directly if he could do more to find out the identity of the dead man.

"If there is news, we will have it during the course of the programme," Mr Frattini replied.

It was two hours before they heard it was Mr Quattrocchi.

His family was the only one of the four not to take part in the programme.

The BBC's Brian Barron
"Italy won't negotiate with the kidnappers"

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