Italy looks set to send Nazi war criminal’s body to Germany

Italy looks set to send Nazi war criminal’s body to Germany

ROME - Italy appeared set to send the body of Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke to Germany on Wednesday as it commemorated the 70th anniversary of a round-up of Jews from the historic Jewish quarter of Rome.

Clashes erupted in a town near Rome on Tuesday as a Catholic ultra-conservative sect tried to stage a funeral for the unrepentant former SS officer who was convicted for a massacre of 335 civilians.

The funeral was cancelled by a police order after some neo-Nazi sympathisers broke into the seminary in Albano Laziale and tried to stage a rally as hundreds of protesters outside shouted "Assassin!"

The coffin was then driven to a military airport outside Rome during the night after Priebke's lawyer and friend, Paolo Giachini, gave up his power of attorney for the funeral arrangements.

"We are planning to resolve the situation today. We are in contact with Germany," Rome prefect Giuseppe Pecoraro told reporters on Wednesday.

"We had to cancel the funeral yesterday because there was a risk that it could have become a neo-Nazi demonstration," he said.

At least two people were detained by police at the scene of the clashes, where some of the protesters were seen fighting with bottles and chains.

A rock was later thrown at the windscreen of the van driving Priebke's coffin to the airport.

Protesters had earlier kicked and spat on the hearse as it arrived for the start of the funeral.

The Holocaust denier died on Friday at the age of 100 and has provoked outrage even in death with the Vatican issuing an unprecedented order forbidding any Catholic church in Rome from holding his funeral.

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