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Italy mourns victims of bridge collapse with state funeral

August 19, 2018

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Genoa (Italy): People attend a funeral service for some of the victims of a collapsed highway bridge in Genoa’s exhibition centre on Tuesday.—AP
Genoa (Italy): People attend a funeral service for some of the victims of a collapsed highway bridge in Genoa’s exhibition centre on Tuesday.—AP

GENOA: Italy mourned the victims of the collapse of a motorway bridge in the northern city of Genoa with a state funeral on Saturday, as rescue workers kept searching for the last few unaccounted people buried in the rubble.

On Tuesday a 200-metre section of the Morandi bridge in Genoa gave way in busy lunchtime traffic, killing at least 38 people.

The mass for 19 of the victims was held at the Exhibition and Trade Centre of the northern port city and led by the city’s archbishop, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco.

But some of the victims’ families boycotted the event and held their own private services, as a protest against the state, seen as negligent in its role of overseeing safety on the privately run bridge.

A car was found on Saturday morning by rescue workers under slabs of concrete. The fire brigade and the Genoa prefecture said it was “compatible” with one believed to carry a family of three. But the official death toll has not yet been revised.

The government has declared on Saturday a national day of mourning and declared a state of emergency for Genoa, one of Italy’s largest ports.

Italy’s head of state, President Sergio Mattarella, and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte attended the ceremony as well as Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli.

‘Allahu Akbar’ prayers for Muslim victims of tragedy Chants of “Allahu Akbar” rang out at a solemn Catholic state funeral in the Italian city of Genoa for the victims of a bridge collapse, who included two Albanian Muslims.

They were among at least 38 people to have died in Tuesday’s tragedy.

An imam was invited to the ceremony, a particularly poignant move in a staunchly Catholic country, where the far-right is now in power and which has seen a rise in the number of attacks against foreigners and Muslims.

He led several minutes of silent prayers — punctuated by four resonant chants of “Allahu Akbar” — in the presence of Italy’s top dignitaries including President Sergio Mattarella and premier Giuseppe Conte.

Published in Dawn, August 19th, 2018