Patriarch in Baghdad Working for Captives' Release

He’s Optimistic, but Asks for Patience

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BAGHDAD, Iraq, APRIL 28, 2004 ( The Chaldean patriarch of Baghdad confirmed that he is working for the release of hostages in Iraq, particularly three Italians, but he asked for patience.

Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly told the Italian episcopal conference’s SIR news service today that the hostages «are well and I think that in the end they will be released.»

The patriarchate has been working for days, in collaboration with the apostolic nuncio, for the release of the three kidnapped on April 12. A fourth companion in captivity was murdered two days after being seized.

«We are looking at all solutions, without discarding any; we are knocking on all doors,» said the patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans.

He appealed to family members «to pray and have confidence in the Lord. They must have patience and not talk too much. We must work in silence.»

He added: «The situation could change from one moment to the next, because there are people who are not working for the good of Iraq. In this region, one must be cautious, proceed with slow but sure steps. On this question, less noise is necessary on the part of the media.»

The kidnappers transmitted a video Monday showing the three Italians and asking the Italian people to organize a large protest in Rome against the war in Iraq. Otherwise the captors threatened to kill the hostages.

Family members have organized a protest in Rome for Thursday, calling for the release of the kidnapped.

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