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Italy9 October 2002

Foreign journalists receive death threats

Reporters Without Borders expressed concern today at death threats made to seven American and Israeli media correspondents in recent days, supposedly by left-wing extremists including the Red Brigades.

"These threats must be taken seriously, even if they do not turn out to be from the Red Brigades," said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard in a letter to Italian interior minister Giuseppe Pisanu. "We urge you to take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of these journalists."

At least seven foreign media correspondents in Rome and Milan have received threats by letter or anonymous phone calls in the past two weeks, saying they will be murdered if they do not leave the country before 30 October. The handwritten letters contained references to the Red Brigades (a far-left group that has attacked and killed prominent figures since the 1970s) and announced "global war against Zionist-Anglo-American terrorism."

Police say the Red Brigades probably did not write the letters, which they called not credible. The threatened journalists have chosen not to reveal themselves.

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