Egypt forms team to keep probing Italian’s murder

Egypt's state prosecutor ordered on Wednesday the formation of an investigating team to probe the brutal murder of Italian student Giulio Regeni, after Rome cast doubt on Cairo's explanation of his death.

Egypt forms team to keep probing Italian's murder
People hold an Italian flag with photos of Giulio Regeni, who was found dead bearing signs of torture after disappearing in Cairo in January. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Regeni, 28, disappeared in central Cairo on January 25, and his mutilated body was found nine days later on the outskirts of the capital.

Last week, the Egyptian police said they had identified a criminal gang linked to his murder, after killing four members and finding the PhD student's passport in the apartment of a sister of one of the slain suspects.

Four people have been detained in relation to Regeni's murder, including the wife and a sister of the alleged leader of the gang.

The other two are the brother and brother-in-law of the gang leader, who was killed in a shoot-out with police along with three other criminals.

Rome has dismissed Cairo's explanations that the gang members, who allegedly posed as police to extort foreigners and Egyptians, were behind Regeni's death.

On Wednesday, Egypt's general prosecutor ordered a team to be set up to probe the student's murder.

“Given that the clues in the case of Giulio Regeni's killing were found in many different areas … the general prosecutor ordered the formation of an investigative team from his office to continue the investigation,” a statement from the prosecutor's office said.

Italy's Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said on Sunday that Egypt agreed to extend the investigation after pressure from Rome.

Italian media and Western diplomatic sources in Cairo have voiced suspicions that Egyptian security services were behind the murder.

Regeni had been researching labour movements in Egypt, a sensitive topic, and had written articles critical of the government under a pen name.

His death has threatened to hit Egypt's already struggling tourism sector, which has seen falling visitor numbers since the ouster of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Tourism, a cornerstone of the economy, was dealt a body blow after the October 31st bombing of a Russian airliner, claimed by the Islamic State group, that killed all 224 people on board.

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Italy’s president calls for ‘full truth’ on anniversary of Bologna bombing

President Sergio Mattarella said on Tuesday it was the state's duty to shed more light on the 1980 bombing of Bologna's train station, on the 42nd anniversary of the attack that killed 85 people and injured 200.

Italy's president calls for 'full truth' on anniversary of Bologna bombing

On August 2nd 1980, a bomb exploded in the railway station’s waiting room, causing devastation on an unprecedented scale.

Five members of terrorist groups were later convicted in relation to the bombing, the worst episode in Italy’s ‘Years of Lead’ period of political violence in the 1970s and 80s.

Most recently, in 2020, a former member of the far-right Armed Revolutionary Nucleus (NAR) was sentenced to life imprisonment for providing logistical support to those who carried out the attack.

But suspicions remain of cover-ups and the involvement of “deviant elements” within the nation’s security services, reported Italian news agency Ansa.

READ ALSO: Bologna massacre: 40 years on, questions remain over Italy’s deadliest postwar terror attack

“The bomb that killed people who happened to be at the station on that morning 42 years ago still reverberates with violence in the depths of the country’s conscience,” Mattarella said in a speech marking the anniversary on Tuesday.

“It was the act of cowardly men of unequalled inhumanity, one of the most terrible of the history of the Italian Republic.

A train compartment at Bologna station pictured following the 1980 bombing attributed to the neo-fascist terrorist organization Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari.

“It was a terrorist attack that sought to destabilise democratic institutions and sow fear, hitting ordinary citizens going about their everyday tasks.

“On the day of the anniversary our thoughts go, above all, to the relatives forced to suffer the greatest pain.

“The neo-fascist nature of the massacre has been established in court and further steps have been made to unveil the cover-ups and those who ordered the attack in order to comply with the Republic’s duty to seek the full truth”.

The bombing remains Western Europe’s fourth deadliest postwar terror attack, and one of the most devastating in Italy’s history.