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Jesuit Priest Believed to Have Been Kidnapped in Syria

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Brantly Millegan - published on 07/30/13

Fr. Paolo dall'Oglio is believed to have been kidnapped in northern Syria by a Islamic fundamentalist group. Since the 1980s, Fr. Paolo has worked to reestablish a Catholic monastery in the Syrian desert.

Islamic fundamentalists with links to Al Qaeda have reportedly kidnapped Jesuit priest Fr. Paolo dall'Oglio in northern Syria. He disappeared near the rebel-held Eastern city of Raqqa.

ANSA reports Fr. dall'Oglio was abducted by "members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, an organization linked to Al Qaida and Syrian jihadist groups fighting the [Syrian] regime" while he walking on a public street.

Fr. dall'Oglio is a 58 year old Roman born Jesuit priest who has spent the last 31 years working to restore a Catholic monastery in northern Syria named Mar Musa, or the Monastery of Saint Moses the Abyssinian. The monastery has been a center for Islamic-Christian dialogue. In 2012, however, he was expelled from the country for his criticisms of the Assad regime. Since then, he has regularly returned to parts of Syria controlled by rebels.

Archbishop Zenari told AsiaNews that observers should be cautious about making conclusions from initial reports: "Here in Syria news has often been reported that has later been proven false or inaccurate, such as the reports of three monks having been beheaded, they were not monks, or reports of the release of the two Orthodox bishops, also proven false."

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