BAGHDAD, Iraq – An Italian kidnapped in Iraq has been executed, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini (search) confirmed Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, Arabic-language satellite television channel Al Jazeera announced it had received a videotape, which it said it would not air, showing one of four Italians held hostage in Iraq being killed. The Italian ambassador to Qatar, where the network is based, watched the video and confirmed that the man killed was Fabrizio Quattrocchi, one of the kidnapped Italians, Frattini said.
Frattini said the government would do "what is possible and impossible" to free the remaining three.
Quattrocchi's death is the first known execution of any of the 22 foreigners being held in Iraq. The killing could further heighten fears among international aid workers, contractors and journalists, some of whom are already restricting their activities in the country.
Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi said, "They have cut short a life. They have not damaged our values and our commitment to peace."
The victim was one of four Italian security guards abducted Monday. The militants' videotape was accompanied by a statement from a previously unknown group calling itself the Green Battalion, which threatened to "kill the three remaining Italian hostages one after the other, if their demands are not met," Al-Jazeera said.
The group demanded the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, an apology from Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (search), and the release of religious clerics held in Iraq.
"We know our duty is to do what is possible and impossible to get them out," the minister said. "We are all only close to the young men who are there, and to the family of the young man who was killed."
Earlier Wednesday, Frattini told an Italian parliamentary commission that the government would not negotiate directly with the kidnappers and would not pay any ransom. He also said an Iranian delegation was headed to Baghdad to help in efforts to secure the release of the Italians, who were kidnapped Monday.
Three of the hostages were working for a U.S.-based company while a fourth was employed by a Seychelles-based firm, Frattini said.
Berlusconi has ruled out any withdrawal of troops and Frattini told the parliamentary commission that an Italian withdrawal would be "unimaginable." Pulling out Italy's 3,000 soldiers and paramilitary police from Iraq would mean "the victory of terrorism, civil war and defeat for the Iraqi people."
Italy is the third-largest coalition partner in the occupation force.
Elsewhere, military sources confirmed to Fox News Wednesday that one of four bodies discovered between Baghdad and the rebellious city of Fallujah was that of a U.S. soldier.
There was no information available on the cause of death of the four, nor were any identified, though forensics work was under way to determine the identities of the dead.
Halliburton Co. (search), which employed a group of private contractors who disappeared after a convoy ambush in Iraq Friday, said it didn't know if any of its workers were among the dead.
Initial reports said the four bodies were mutilated, but those reports were not confirmed, a State Department official said.
NBC News earlier reported that the four bodies were in a shallow grave between Fallujah and the western Baghdad district of Abu Ghraib, scene of the convoy attack, and that U.S. officials were led to the grave by an Iraqi.
Two U.S. soldiers and seven employees of Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (search) have been missing since the attack on the main highway west of Baghdad.
One of the seven missing employees — Thomas Hamill, a 43-year-old truck driver from Macon, Miss. — is known to have been abducted. His captors have threatened to kill and mutilate him unless U.S. troops ended their assault on Fallujah. The deadline passed Sunday with no word on his fate. Halliburton would not give the nationalities of the six others.
The roads west of Baghdad have been a site of many kidnappings since bloody fighting broke out across Iraq this month. Some abductions have also occurred in the south.
A U.S. spokesman said Tuesday that 40 foreigners from 12 countries are being held by kidnappers — but an Associated Press count put the number at 22, with Wednesday's release of a French journalist.
Alexandre Jordano, a French television journalist, was freed unharmed at a mosque in Baghdad, saying he suffered constant movement and threats to his life.
Jordano, who works for Capa Television in Paris, was kidnapped Sunday while videotaping a U.S. military convoy under attack. He was traveling with cameraman Ivan Ceriex, who was released the next day.
Jordanov, 40, said his abductors switched his location eight times, passing him from one armed group to another.
"It was: 'We're going to cut your throat' to 'You're part of the Mossad,"' Jordanov said, referring to the Israeli secret service.
Herve Chabalier, president of Capa, told LCI television that negotiations with Sunni religious authorities led to Jordanov's release.
"He's very much looking forward to being finished with this affair," Chabalier said.
Also among the captives are three Japanese whose kidnappers threatened to burn them alive if Tokyo didn't withdraw its troops.
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Wednesday authorities had intelligence suggesting the captives had not been harmed but added such reports were unconfirmed.
"It's not clear, but there is much information suggesting they're unharmed," he said. "We can't say anything for certain yet."
Tokyo repeated a warning Wednesday urging all Japanese in Iraq to leave the country. There are reportedly about 70 Japanese civilians in the country, mostly journalists and aid workers.
Three Czech journalists feared kidnapped Sunday are fine and could be released as early as Wednesday, Iraqi Minister of Culture Mofeed al-Jazaeri told Czech television from Baghdad.
The three reporters are believed to have been kidnapped while headed toward Jordan on a road that goes through Abu Ghraib. They were identified as Czech Television reporter Michal Kubal and cameraman Petr Klima and Czech Radio reporter Vit Pohanka.
Russia said Wednesday that it would begin evacuating people from Iraq this week in light of the deteriorating security situation.
The Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations (search) planned to send seven flights from Moscow to Baghdad and Kuwait to evacuate specialists from Russia and former Soviet republics who have been working in Iraq, spokesman Viktor Beltsov said Wednesday.
The move comes after three Russian and five Ukrainian employees of a Russian energy company were kidnapped by masked gunmen who broke into their Baghdad house on Monday. The Interenergoservis employees were released unharmed the next day.
"Preliminary plans are to evacuate 553 Russian citizens and 263 citizens from countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States who are working on Russian contracts at facilities in Iraq," Beltsov said. The first flight was scheduled for Thursday morning.
The CIS is a loose organization of 12 former Soviet republics that includes Ukraine.
The Philippines — a staunch U.S. ally — also said Wednesday that it was considering whether to withdraw its nearly 100 troops from Iraq.
"The decision on whether or not to withdraw our peacekeeping forces will depend on the security situation in Iraq in the days to come," President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said.
The Philippine military and police contingent in central Iraq has suffered no fatalities, but a civilian driver for military supply trucks was released unharmed earlier this week after he was abducted along with dozens of foreigners.
Fox News' Bret Baier, Ian McCaleb and The Associated Press contributed to this report.