Italy: Two Romani children and their older sister die in arson attack
ANSA, the Italian wire service, reported yesterday that two Romani girls ages four and eight and their 20-year-old sister died early yesterday morning during an arson attack in Rome, Italy. The assailant's identity has not yet been ascertained.
Somebody threw a Molotov cocktail at the caravan where the 11-member family, originally from Bosnia, were sleeping. The arson attack happened yesterday just before 3:30 AM in the parking lot of the Primavera shopping center.
Sisters Angelica, Elisabeth and Francesca were asleep in the uppermost sleeping compartment of the caravan and could not be rescued from the flames in time. Their parents and siblings managed to flee the vehicle.
Italian politicians, led by the Italian President, are demanding the harshest possible punishment for the perpetrators of the attack. "This is a terrible crime," Italian President Sergion Mattarella said in reaction to the news of the attack.
"To kill young children is subhuman. The culprits must be found and severely punished," the Italian President said.
Laura Boldrini, speaker of the lower house of the Italian Parliament, called the incident "An abnormal crime full of hatred and violence." Pope Francis has sent his co-workers to visit the family and offer the surviving relatives aid.
Representatives of the Sant'Egidio community, which assists Romani people, said of the incident that "Romani people have become the victims of unprecedented violence." Detectives found traces of flammable liquid and fragments of a broken bottle at the scene of the crime.
In footage from a CCTV camera that police are now reviewing, a figure can allegedly be seen throwing a Molotov cocktail at the caravan. Investigators are now reviewing all possible motivations for the attack, from racial motivation to revenge within the Romani community itself.
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