Italy: Day of mourning for six soldiers killed in Afghanistan

Rome, 21 Sept. (AKI) - The funerals of six Italian soldiers killed in Afghanistan last week in a suicide attack claimed by the Taliban were due take place on Monday in Rome, a day after their bodies were flown to the capital. More than 10,000 people have visited the chapel of rest located at Rome's military hospital to pay their last respects to the soldiers.

The funerals were due take place at Rome's Saint Paul Outside the Walls Church, where Italian president Giorgio Napolitano as well as prime minister Silvio Berlusconi are expected to attend the state funeral.

The four soldiers who were injured in the attack - Felice Calandriello, Rocco Leo, Sergio Agostinelli and Fernando Buono - will also attend the funeral.

Schools and public offices will also hold a minute's silence for the six soldiers while flags will fly at half-mast on governments buildings throughout the country.

The suicide attack last Thursday killed six soldiers when a suicide bomber positioned his car between the two armoured vehicles which the soldiers were travelling in. One of the armoured vehicles was completely destroyed in the attack.

All those killed were from Italy's 186th Lightning Brigade.The blast also killed 10 Afghans and injured four Italian soldiers as well as dozens of Afghan civilians.

The bombing against the military convoy in central Kabul was the deadliest assault on Italian troops since Al-Qaeda killed 19 people in an attack on a barracks in Nassiriya in southern Iraq, in 2003.

There are about 3,000 Italian troops serving in Afghanistan, mostly in the west of the country. Twenty Italian soldiers have been killed in the conflict between insurgents and the NATO-led international force since the Taliban was ousted.


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