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Syria: Kidnapping of Jesuit priest ‘extremely serious’ says former Italian ex-foreign minister

last update: July 30, 19:34

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Rome, 30 July (AKI) – Twice Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini on Tuesday condemned the abduction of Italian Jesuit priest Paolo dall”Oglio in northern Syria by alleged Al-Qaeda linked militants, calling it an “extremely serious” act.

“This is the umpteenth in a series of extremely serious acts,” Frattini told Adnkronos International (AKI).

Dall’Oglio was seized late on Monday in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa by the Al-Qaeda linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), acording to Syrin opposition activists. The Vatican said it could not confirm the priest’s abduction while the Italian foreign ministry said it was ‘verifying’ the report of his kidnapping.

“Besides Dall’Oglio, the Italian journalist Domenico Quirico and two Orthodox bishops abducted two months ago near the city of Aleppo are still being held by kidnappers,” Frattini noted.

Frattini said he had met Dall’Oglio, an outspoken critic of the authoritarian rule of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, in June in Rome, who warned Islamist militants could be infiltrating the opposition.

'He rightly said there is a dictatorial regime in Damascus that must fall and that Christians in Syria must be in no doubt as to which side to be on.”

“Dall’Oglio also feared infiltration of the opposition ranks by Al-Qaeda militants and other extremists. This is why the West is cautious about supplying arms to the rebels,” Frattini said.

Italy should not to contribute to the direct supply of arms and should boost humanitarian aid to the many hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees who have fled to neighbouring countries since the conflict broke out more than two years ago, Frattini concluded.

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