BEIRUT: Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini said Tuesday that there were “no certain elements” indicating that Father Paolo Dall’Oglio had been summarily executed by militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).
Mogherini was responding to a spate of reports Monday about the fate of Dall’Oglio, a supporter of the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad who went missing last year.
The reports, circulated on anti-regime media outlets, cited unnamed witnesses who said Dall’Oglio was killed a few hours after trying to mediate with ISIS to release kidnapped foreign journalists.
Mogherini said her government was doing its utmost to work for the Jesuit priest’s release. “Silence does not always mean that there is no movement taking place,” she said.
“Up to this moment, there are no certain elements that can categorically prove one hypothesis over another.”
The reports were also downplayed by Rami Abdel-Rahman, the head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, who said his group’s latest information was that Dall’Oglio’s captors were open to negotiating his release.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on May 28, 2014, on page 8.