Italian priest killed in Turkey to be buried in Rome basilica

Thousands of people filed past the coffin of an Italian priest shot dead in Turkey ahead of his funeral in a Rome basilica Friday.

The body of Rev. Andrea Santoro was brought to the Rome church of Santi Fabiano e Venanzio where he once worked. As many as 10,000 mourners went there Thursday to pay their respects, the news agency Apcom reported.

Santoro's coffin was due to be transferred to Rome's main basilica, St. John Lateran, for the funeral service.

Santoro, 60, was shot twice in the back Sunday while praying in his church along the Black Sea coast. Witnesses say the killer screamed "Allahu Akbar," Arabic for "God is great," before firing two bullets into Santoro's back.

The shooting shocked Italians, coming amid heightened tensions linked to violent protests against the publication in Europe of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, reports the AP.

I.L.

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