Italian priest killed in Syria - reports

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Father Paolo Dall’Oglio lived in Syria for more than 30 years. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/Flickr
16:53 CEST+02:00
Father Paolo Dall'Oglio has been killed by an Islamic group, more than two weeks after he went missing, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Wednesday.

“Activists in the city [of Raqqah]...have confirmed to the SOHR [Syrian Observatory for Human Rights] that Italian Jesuit priest and the messenger of peace Father Paolo Dall’Oglio has been killed while in the prisons of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS),” the organization said in a Facebook statement.

The ISIS is a group operating in Syria with links to al-Qaeda.

The SOHR said that Dall’Oglio had been held in the group’s prison for more than two weeks, but gave no further details.

The Italian foreign ministry told The Local that it was aware of the report, although could not confirm whether it was true.

Reports of Dall’Oglio’s disappearance began to circulate online on July 29th, prompting Pope Francis to express his concern for the priest’s welfare.

A vocal critic of the Bashar al-Assad regime, the priest was thrown out of the country in June 2012 although he re-entered Syria in July.

There have been conflicting reports over Dall’Oglio’s disappearance from the rebel-held city of Raqqa.

While some said that he had been kidnapped by the ISIS, others stated that he had willingly gone to meet the group to negotiate the release of prisoners.

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Given the ongoing civil war in Syria it is difficult to independently verify such reports.

Dall’Oglio had lived in Syria for more than 30 years and has been praised internationally for bringing Christians and Muslims together.

He is also known for restoring the Deir Mar Musa monastery, north of Damascus. 

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