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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 April 2006, 16:40 GMT 17:40 UK
Israel condemns burning of flag
March to celebrate the 61st anniversary of the Italian liberation
Liberation Day commemorations are held across Italy on 25 April
Israel's ambassador in Rome has condemned the burning of two Israeli flags during a march to commemorate Italy's liberation at the end of WWII.

Ehud Gol said he was filled with "shame and rage" as a group of pro-Palestinian demonstrators set the flags alight on the fringe of Tuesday's march in Milan.

Protesters shouted "Intifada" and "Free Palestine", according to media reports.

Centre-left leader Romano Prodi, who narrowly won Italy's election this month, strongly condemned the incident.

Mr Prodi's centre-right rivals accused him of hypocrisy, saying his broad coalition included anti-Israel activists.

'Anti-Jewish resurgence'

The anti-Israel demonstrations were reportedly prompted by the presence of Israeli flags in honour of the Jewish Brigade, whose members died helping to liberate Italy.

"As a Jew and an Israeli, I was filled with shame and anger at the sight of the barbarous behaviour of the 'fascists' of the extreme left, who defiled the sanctity of the Liberation Day holiday," Mr Gol said in a statement.

"It is a very grave act," Claudio Morpurgo, president of the union of Italian Jewish communities, told Italian news agency Ansa.

"Some hooligans brought up acts and words that appear to be anti-Israeli, but really hide an anti-Jewish resurgence," he said.

Commemorations are held throughout Italy on 25 April in honour of the partisan uprising that began in 1945, and ended with the execution of Fascist Party dictator Benito Mussolini.

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