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Family of Nazi searches for body

| Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, 9:42 p.m.

ROME — The case of Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke took another bizarre twist on Thursday, as his family said it doesn't know where his body is.

Family lawyer Paolo Giachini said he and the former SS captain's family lost track of Priebke's casket on Tuesday night, when they tried to celebrate a funeral Mass for him in a church compound in Albano Laziale south of Rome.

At a certain point, he told Sky TG24, a group of about 30 people entered the compound and took the casket out amid protests pitting Priebke's right-wing supporters against his detractors.

Italian state radio said the casket was taken to a nearby military base. But Giachini said he has not been able to establish who has the body or where it is, and Italian officials have refused to divulge information about it.

“It's unheard of that a casket can be made to disappear in this country, taken from those who had custody of it in a private place — a place of worship — and taking it by force without any order, any notification,” Giachini said. “We want clarity.”

Priebke died on Friday at age 100 in Rome, where he was serving a life term for the 1944 massacre of 335 civilians at the Ardeatine Caves outside Rome. It was one of the worst atrocities in German-occupied Italy during World War II.

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