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Missing Spanish journalists thought to be abducted in Aleppo, Syria

Antonio Pampliega, Jose Manuel Lopez and Angel Sastre went missing after entering Syria on July 10.

By Fred Lambert
Missing Spanish journalists thought to be abducted in Aleppo, Syria
In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrians walk through rubble where multiple bombs hit the center of Aleppo, Syria on October 3, 2012. On July 21, 2015, three Spanish journalists working in the city were reported missing and are feared to have been kidnapped. UPI | License Photo

ALEPPO, Syria, July 21 (UPI) -- Three Spanish journalists who went missing after entering Syria are feared to have been kidnapped, according to reports.

Antonio Pampliega, Jose Manuel Lopez and Angel Sastre disappeared after entering the county through Turkey on July 10, according to the Spanish Federation of Press Associations (FAPE).

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Each was a freelance reporter who had been working in the city of Aleppo, in Syria's north.

"We don't know (if they were together) doing their investigative reports in Aleppo, just that another three Spanish journalists were kidnapped in the same area nearly a year ago," the BBC quoted FAPE president Elsa Gonzalez as saying.

The Spanish foreign ministry reportedly said it was "aware of the situation" and was "working on it."

Two other Spanish journalists, Javier Espinosa and Ricardo Garcia Vilanova, were kidnapped in Syria last year and in March were released after 194 days in captivity.

Militant extremist groups in the country, most notably the Islamic State, have been known to abduct Western journalists, ordeals that sometimes end in publicized beheading videos.

IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is recently reported to have ordered followers to tone down such videos in order to "respect the sensitivities of Muslims and children who find such images repulsive."

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News of the possible abductions comes one day after four Italian construction workers were reportedly kidnapped near an oil facility in Libya.

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