ROME – A videotape of three Italians who were kidnapped weeks ago in Iraq was broadcast on the Al-Jazeera (search) satellite network.
The men, all working as private guards in the country, were captured April 12 along with a fourth colleague. That man, Fabrizio Quattrocchi (search), was executed shortly after, and a tape of the killing was released.
The footage was broadcast on the Arabic-language network on Wednesday, and came with a written message from the captors that urged Italians to demonstrate against the policies of President Bush and the government of Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi (search). The previous video in April came with a similar demand.
The video, which was immediately re-broadcast on Italian television, depicted the three remaining hostages eating and sitting in chairs before the camera. The men were bearded and a little haggard but seemed not to have been physically harmed.
One of the hostages, Salvatore Stefio, addressed the camera and stated the date as Monday, May 31.
"This message is directed to the official Italian establishments, the government, the pope, and our families," he said. "We have been treated excellently until now. We are in excellent condition. We haven't met any problems from the people who are keeping us in this place."
An Iraqi armed group calling itself the Green Brigade (search) has said it was behind the abductions.
Saeed Shouly, the deputy chief editor at Al-Jazeera, said they received the tape by mail Wednesday at their Doha, Qatar (search), headquarters.
It was the first video of the men since April 26, when Arab TV channel Al-Arabiya (search) showed footage of the three eating food from a large pot with their fingers. That tape also came with a demand for protests, and the hostages' families responded a few days later.
They and several thousand others marched April 29 to St. Peter's Square (search), describing it as a peace rally and insisting they were not giving in to the captors. Pope John Paul II (search) sent a message to the marchers, saying he had celebrated Mass for the captives and urging them to keep their spirits up.
Italians have followed the fate of the three with great concern. After initial indications that the three would be freed, their captivity has dragged on and their families kept in agony over their fate.
Stefio's father, Angelo, said his son looked good.
"He struck me as being like he was when he left, perfect, healthy. It means they haven't lied and that they treat them well," Angelo Stefio told the ANSA news agency. "It had been more than 40 days since I'd seen him."
The Italian government has been working to free the three but is not speaking about the negotiations.
Rash of Kidnappings Continues
Another videotape, also obtained Wednesday, showed a Turkish and an Egyptian hostage with masked gunmen, who said the two truck drivers had been taken for working with the U.S.-led occupation.
The video, obtained by Associated Press Television News, showed the two purported hostages seated on the floor in front of five masked gunmen. Both men, who appeared unharmed, displayed their passports and ate food from plates on a carpet.
The tape was obtained in Ramadi (search), 100 miles west of the capital Baghdad. Ramadi is part of the so-called Sunni Triangle, a center of Sunni Muslim resistance to the American occupation.
The foreigners identified themselves as Bulent Yanik, a Turk born in 1969, and Victor Tawfiq Jerges, an Egyptian born in 1959. They spoke in Turkish and Arabic.
One of the gunmen read a statement saying "our Jihad brothers" had captured the two drivers "while they were providing the American army with supplies and goods."
The camera zoomed in on a document reading "ESS company vehicle list." ESS, formerly known as Eurest Support Services (search), is a food supplier to the U.S. military in Iraq and a division of Britain-based Compass Group (search).
He did not say where or when they were seized. A similar tape was broadcast by Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya, two Arabic language satellite television stations.
"We are going to treat them in accordance with Islamic law, and we warn everyone who is assisting the Americans that they will meet the same fate," the gunman added. "Also, we hold their governments responsible for their actions."
Turkey's Embassy in Baghdad was trying to secure the release of the Turkish hostage, said Abdullah Gul, the country's foreign minister. He did not elaborate.
On Tuesday, two Polish contractors and five Kurdish employees were abducted near an American compound close to Baghdad. However, one of the Poles managed to escape, a spokesman for their company said. They were taken from their office around noon by people who drove up in vehicles, a spokesman for their Jedynka construction company told Polish television.
A wave of kidnappings of foreigners was sparked by the intense violence that began in April. Up to 40 people from several nations have been abducted, though most were later freed.
Fox News' Jane Roh and The Associated Press contributed to this report.