DNA confirms body is Quattrocchi

Forensic experts who examined DNA samples confirmed earlier on Sunday that the corpse handed over to the Italian Red Cross (CRI) in Baghdad on Thursday was that of Mr Quattrocchi.

The body was returned to the head of Italian Red Cross operations in Iraq Maurizio Scelli by the country’s Ulema Committee of Sunni Muslim leaders, who have been actively involved in negotiations for the release of other hostages.

Samples taken from the body were flown into in Rome late on Friday.

Experts immediately began work to compare the tissue’s DNA with that of hairs belonging to Mr Quattrocchi, retrieved from his belongings by his family.

Defence ministry sources said an autopsy would have to be performed in Rome before Mr Quattrocchi’s body can be returned to his family in Genoa.

Mr Quattrocchi, 36, and three other Italians – all serving as private security guards in Baghdad – were kidnapped on April 12 by a group calling itself the Falanges of Mohammed.

The surviving hostages are thought to be held near the flashpoint city of Fallujah.

Mr Quattrocchi was shot by his abductors on April 14, after the Italian government said it would not bow to the group’s demands that Italy withdraw its 3,000 troops from Iraq.

A recording of his death in the possession of Italian diplomatic authorities apparently shows him struggling to take the hood off seconds before he was shot and saying: ‘I’ll show how an Italian dies’.

Most Italian politicians agreed that Mr Quattrocchi should be honoured with a state funeral although Deputy Premier Gianfranco Fini said it would be best to respect the family’s wishes.

“I believe the family ought to have the final word…personally, I think he should be honoured for the way he faced death,” said Mr Fini, adding that Mr Quattrocchi’s last words had been commented on the world over.

Democratic Left leader Piero Fassino said a decision on whether to hold a state funeral should not turn into “a political debate.”

But Oliviero Diliberto, leader of the small party of Italian Communists (PCDI), argued against the idea of a state funeral, saying that Mr Quattrocchi was not deployed as a soldier in Baghdad and had chosen to go there.

PCDI House Whip Marco Rizzo added that his funeral “should not be exploited for political purposes” ahead of the June 13 European Parliament elections.

Meanwhile, a friend speaking for the dead man’s relatives said they were facing a “difficult moment,” and were attempting to “gather strength and arrange their ideas.”

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