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The so-called “Islamic State in Iraq and Levant”, an al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist group is holding two Spanish journalists, El Mundo newspaper reported on Tuesday.

El Mundo correspondent Javier Espinosa and Ricardo Garcia Vilanova, a freelance photographer, were seized on September 16 in Raqa province, the Spanish daily said on its website.

El Mundo said the pair was kidnapped at a checkpoint near the Turkish border as they tried to leave Syria at the end of a two-week reporting mission.

They were taken along with four members of the so-called Free Syrian Army, the main foreign-backed opposition group fighting the Syrian government, who were supposed to protect them, the newspaper said. The four Syrians were later released.

The newspaper identified the captors as members of the ISIL, adding it had kept the kidnapping quiet until now while it held indirect communications with the captors, who have still not asked for anything in return for their captives.

In a press conference in Beirut, hours after El Mundo announced the kidnapping, Espinosa’s wife urged the journalists’ captors to free them.

Monica Prieto said the pair had “travelled a dozen times to Syria to document war crimes, risking their lives, and becoming brothers with the Syrians in their fear, misery and humanitarian crisis.”

“They have done so because we believe the Syrian people need our work, and that we must live up to our responsibility,” said Prieto.

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SOURCE AFP

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