Naples, March 7 - The Italian industry minister said Thursday that 20 million euros will go towards rebuilding the Citta' della Scienza (City of Science) in Naples after a massive blaze destroyed much of the complex this week. Corrado Passera announced the plan after a phone meeting with Territorial Cohesion Minister Fabrizio Barca and representatives of local enterprise. The plan allows for five million euros of the funds to be released by the end of Thursday. The complex was considered one of Naples' cultural gems. It featured a large interactive science museum that attracted around 350,000 visitors each year and it also had facilities for conferences and other educational activities. Only one of the complex's buildings was untouched by the flames late Monday. "What happened at the Citta' della Scienza has deeply wounded many, not just in Naples, but the entire country," said Interior Minister Annamaria Cancellieri, in Brussels for a European Council meeting. "I hope we can rebuild it as soon as possible. Also the European Union has pledged its willingness" to help. Cancellieri said that suspicions of terrorism were "not very likely". Mayor Luigi de Magistris suspected foul play. "My impression is this was a criminal act, one that was premeditated and dramatic," he said Thursday, pointing to mafia groups potentially trying to "reclaim territory during the economic crisis". "We need to be careful," he said. "I'm worried, but I'm also very confident thanks to the reaction I've seen from Neapolitans and the entire country". On Thursday, a nationwide fund-drive was launched allowing people to make two-euro donations by dialing 45599.
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di Giovanni Pastore