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Italy, Vatican condemn Charlie Hebdo attack


Rome, January 7 - Italian politicians across the
spectrum on Wednesday expressed outrage over a deadly attack on
the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo satirical weekly, as police
in Rome stepped up security at media offices and other sensitive
potential targets.
Italian Premier Matteo Renzi expressed "horror and dismay"
at the massacre carried out by suspected al-Qaeda gunmen, who
opened fire with Kalashnikov automatic rifles to slay least 12
people including the weekly's editor, three leading cartoonists,
and two police officers.
"Violence will always lose against freedom and democracy,"
Renzi said, adding he felt close to French President Francois
Hollande and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.
Renzi was due to visit the French Embassy in Rome Wednesday
evening to express his condolences.
At the Vatican, news of the attack produced "abhorrence,"
sources at the Holy See press office said. The sources said the
attack was to be contemned both as an act of terrorism and as an
attack on press freedom.
Italian security sources said "special attention" is being
paid to security at newspaper offices in the Eternal City as the
country was placed on maximum alert.
Italy is on "maximum" alert but there are no "specific
signals" suggesting attacks may be imminent, intelligence
sources said.
However there is always the risk of lone wolves acting out,
they said.
Renzi discussed the security situation with Interior
Minister Angelino Alfano, who summoned the Anti-Terrorism
Strategic Analysis Committee made up of law enforcement and
intelligence experts to assess the terrorist threat in Italy in
light of the Paris attack.
Deputy Senate Speaker Roberto Calderoli, who is from the
anti-immigrant, anti-euro and separatist Northern League party,
commented that "what happened today in Paris pains me deeply but does not surprise me".
"The policy of open doors to all and (Italy's now-defunct)
Mare Nostrum (migrant search-and-rescue operation)... have
opened a Pandora's box for which we will never find the lid".
The Senate observed a minute of silence for the victims,
and Reform Minister Maria Elena Boschi took the floor to say the
attack on Charlie Hebdo was "barbaric" and "blasphemous" and
requires a "firm but wise response".

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