On Thursday, August 25, 2005; 20:11 GMT, CNN reported that the Italian Red Cross treated four 'presumed Iraqi terrorists' at its Baghdad hospital to secure the release of two kidnapped Italian aid workers, according to a media report.
Maurizio Scelli, the outgoing commissioner of the aid organization, is reported to have said the deal to free the two was kept secret from U.S. officials.
Red Cross spokesman Fabrizio Centofanti later confirmed to CNN that the organization had treated the Iraqis. "It did help presumed Iraqi terrorists, but it did so in the spirit of the Red Cross to help out everyone in need."
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's office... said the Red Cross was independent and did not answer to the government.
Scelli, who was present at the handover of the two aid workers on September 28, said he helped to secure the women's release. He told La Stampa that the decision to hide details about the operation from U.S. officials was approved by Gianni Letta, Berlusconi's right-hand man.