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  Italian hostage is killed in Iraq
Updated 15 April 2004, 14.08
Lots of hostages have been taken in Iraq
One of four Italians taken hostage in Iraq has been killed, according to the Italian foreign minister.

There have been a number of kidnappings in Iraq recently, as groups there try to force soldiers from countries like the US and Italy out of Iraq.

It's the first confirmed killing of a hostage taken in Iraq and there are around 40 others still captured there.

But three Japanese hostages have been freed their government has confirmed, a week after they were taken.

Fact File
Confirmed foreign hostages
4 Italians - one killed
3 Czechs
1 American
1 Canadian
The Italian prime minister said the taking of the hostages will not stop the attempts at peace in Iraq.

Earlier the Italian foreign minister said the kidnappers were not linked to any other major group in Iraq.

On Wednesday Russia offered to fly 800 of its people out of Iraq as the number of kidnappings grew.

Other governments have also recommended that their citizens in Iraq try to leave the country.

The Italians, who are security guards working for a US-based company, were abducted on Monday.

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