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Last Updated: Monday, 24 May, 2004, 16:27 GMT 17:27 UK
Hostage's body arrives in Italy
Fabrizio Quattrocchi
Quattrocchi: Defiant to the end
The body of Italian hostage Fabrizio Quattrocchi, who was killed in Iraq, has been returned to Italy.

He was one of four Italians abducted near Baghdad on 12 April while working as private security guards.

Mr Quattrocchi's execution and defiance in the face of death was videoed by his captors. The fate of the others is not known but they are thought to be alive.

Mr Quattrocchi's remains were given to the Red Cross in Iraq last week and DNA tests confirmed the body's identity.

On Monday, the body was flown to Rome's Ciampino military airport on a Red Cross plane from Baghdad.

Red Cross spokesman Fabrizio Centofanti said Mr Quattrocchi's family travelled to the airport from their home in Genoa.

Funeral debate

Mr Quattrocchi, 36, has been hailed a hero in some quarters and there is debate as to whether he should receive a state burial.

The execution video has not been made public, but when it was released, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini described parts of it to the media.

I believe he should be honoured for the way in which he faced up to his sacrifice
Gianfranco Fini,
Deputy Prime Minister
As the gunman's pistol was pointing at him, the hostage "tried to take off his hood and shouted: 'now I'll show you how an Italian dies,'" he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Gianfranco Fini told reporters at the weekend that he believed Mr Quattrocchi "should be honoured for the way in which he faced up to his sacrifice".

He said it was up to the family to decide whether they wanted a state funeral.

But members of the centre-left opposition have objected, saying that as he was not a soldier he should have a private service.

The other three hostages are Salvatore Stefio, Umberto Cupertino and Maurizio Agliana who were all working as security guards for a private US firm.

A group calling itself the Green Brigade has claimed responsibility for the kidnappings and Mr Quattrocchi's death.

The group has demanded the withdrawal of the 3,000-strong Italian contingent from Iraq - something the Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, and the parliament have rejected.

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