Abduction in Iraq: A call from the kidnapped journalist’s phone

Early Saturday, an Italian journalist received a call from the mobile telephone of colleague Giuliana Sgrena, 56, who was kidnapped by gunmen Friday near &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/war/2003/04/10/45917.html' target=_blank>Baghdad University.

Radio journalist Barbara Schiavulli, who received the call from Ms. Sgrena's phone, heard only Arab music playing in the background, said Cristiana Tomei, a colleague of Schiavulli's speaking in Rome.

Gunmen grabbed Ms. Sgrena as she left a mosque near the university, forcing her into a car while trading fire with university guards. Ms. Schiavulli had received a call from her phone apparently while the abduction was taking place, hearing only gunshots and footsteps but not Ms. Sgrena's voice, writes the Globe and Mail.

"The call lasted only a short moment and then the line was cut off. Barbara tried to call back but she couldn't get through. It was impossible to know if the call was intentional or if it was an accident," Simona D'Alessio told Reuters.

Prime Minister &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/world/20/91/365/10664_Berlusconi.html' target=_blank>Silvio Berlusconi said on Friday Italy was working to secure Sgrena's release. Foreign Ministry Under-secretary Alfredo Mantica said on Saturday after arriving in &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/war/2003/03/20/44688.html' target=_blank>Kuwait that Rome would seek the Gulf state's help in trying to gain Sgrena's release.

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