Italy is in mourning as the country holds a state funeral for the 287 victims of Monday’s catastrophic earthquake in the medieval city of L’ Aquila.
The families of those who lost loved ones were joined by the Italian political elite including Prime Minister Silvio Belusconi and President Giorgio Napolitano. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the pope’s representative, led the service: “Today we are all united as one in sadness at the number of people who died.” The Islamic community in Italy were also represented. The grief of those bereaved by the tragedy was plain for all to see. Perhaps most poignant of all the deaths of 16 children in the quake. In attendance many members of the 12,000 strong rescue services whose efforts to save the living has now become the grim task of pulling the dead from under the tonnes of rubble.