Italians mourn Afghanistan dead
Italy is holding a day of mourning for six soldiers killed in a bomb attack in Afghanistan last week, with a state funeral taking place in Rome, BBC reported.
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and other political leaders have joined the victims' families for the ceremony.
A minute's silence will be held in schools and public buildings. Flags are flying at half mast.
The deaths, Italy's single biggest loss of life in the war, have prompted a debate about the mission's future.
The BBC's Duncan Kennedy in Rome says the deaths have made a powerful impact on Italy, with extensive coverage in newspapers and on television.
Thousands have been paying their respects as the bodies lay in state after being returned on Sunday.
Mr Berlusconi, President Giorgio Napolitano, members of the armed forces and leaders of major political parties are at the funeral, at Rome's Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls.
Mourners clapped as the coffins arrived on military lorries and were carried by troops into the church.
The soldiers' bodies will later be taken for private burials in cemeteries across Italy.
There are now more than 3,000 Italian soldiers in Afghanistan, mostly in the capital, Kabul, and the western area of Herat.
Some political parties have called for their withdrawal but last week Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said the troops must remain despite the high price Italy is paying.