Rome

Probe opened into time Moro's body found

Ex-bomb-disposal experts placed Cossiga at scene earlier

Probe opened into time Moro's body found

Rome, July 3 - Rome prosecutors on Wednesday opened a probe into new claims about the time at which Christian Democrat (DC) statesman Aldo Moro's body was found after his assassination by Red Brigades (BR) terrorists in May 1978. Two former bomb-disposal experts recently told police Moro's body was found at 11 o'clock on the morning of May 9. This contradicted the official version of events, in which the BR phoned in to say where the body was - midway between the DC and Communist Party (PCI) headquarters - at 12:30, and police arrived on the scene an hour and a half later. The two former sappers also claimed then interior minister Francesco Cossiga, another DC faction leader, was in the street, Via Caetani, at 11:00. The new alleged timing has been contested by the first journalist to arrive at the scene, Franco Alfano, who said the Renault 4 containing Moro's bullet-riddled body was opened at 14:00. Cossiga resigned after Moro was found dead and was later elected Italian president with the help of the PCI. He died in 2010. Moro, twice premier for the once-dominant but now defunct DC, was captured on March 16, 1978, when the BR blocked his two-car convoy on its way to a House session to take part in a historic confidence vote for a new government led by another DC heavyweight, a close friend and sometime rival of Moro's, Giulio Andreotti. The DC-led government, the fourth of Andreotti's seven stints, received PCI support for the first time in the first step in Moro's strategic political vision known as the Historic Compromise. The terrorists shot and killed his five bodyguards on the spot. The kidnappers proposed to trade Moro's life for the release of several imprisoned terrorists, but the Italian government refused to negotiate. Andreotti, who died recently, was criticised for this. After two months of hiding Moro, and allowing him to communicate with the outside through letters critical of the DC, the BR put Moro in a car, had him cover himself with a blanket, and shot 10 rounds into his body. Moro's death spawned conspiracy theories including CIA puppet-masters acting to stymie the DC-PCI rapprochement, mafia involvement and complicity by Andreotti. Postwar political titan Andreotti died on May 6, a few years after being cleared of murdering a muckraking journalist and holding links with the mafia beyond 1980.

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