TRIPOLI - Two Italians kidnapped last July in Libya were freed Friday in a raid on Islamic State group hideouts in a city near the capital, officials in Libya and Rome said.

The announcement came a day after Italy said that two other nationals abducted at the same time had probably been killed in clashes between jihadists and local militiamen. ‘Two Italian hostages were released in Sabratha after an operation targeting several houses after information reached security forces that Daesh elements were there,’ the city’s mayor Hussein al-Dawadi said, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

‘They are now at a police station in Sabratha,’ 70 kilometres (40 miles) east of Tripoli, he added. Gino Pollicardo, 55, and Filippo Calcagno, 65, said in a statement released by the Sabratha municipality: ‘We are free and are relatively well physically but are psychologically exhausted.

We urgently need to return to Italy.’ In a video posted on the municipality’s Facebook page, the pair were seen wearing

tracksuits, with long beards and dishevelled hair. Pollicardo’s tearful wife told Italian media: ‘It’s over. I spoke to him on the phone.’ The foreign ministry in Rome confirmed the releases, saying that the two ‘are no longer in the hands of their captors’.