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G7 leaders to mull anti-terror cooperation, says Italian PM

IANS | Rome |

Counter-terrorism cooperation will be high on the agenda at this week's G7 summit in Italy's Taormina, Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni said on Tuesday after the deadly attack in Britain's Manchester.

"We are working to ensure that the G7 meeting conveys its strong and shared commitment to fighting terrorism," Gentiloni told reporters here.

"We have an opportunity in Taormina to underline that the cowardice that wipes out young lives will not defeat our freedom," he stated.

Gentiloni said that Italy's security forces were doing everything possible to combat terrorism.

"You know that you can count on the dedication and professionalism of our system to assure international events take place, but also to safeguard national territory and reduce the risks faced by citizens," he said.

Italy's anti-terrorism committee was due to meet on Tuesday at the interior ministry to review national security in the light of the Manchester attacks, he said.

The Islamic State jihadist group on Tuesday claimed the Manchester Arena suicide bombing and warned of "more severe" attacks against "the worshippers of the Cross and their allies".

The Manchester attack killed at least 22 people and injured around 60 after a concert by US singer Ariana Grande, drawing international condemnation.

The attack came amid a security lockdown in Italy on the eve of US President Donald Trump's visit to Rome and the Vatican and the G7 summit on Friday and Saturday in Taormina.

Gentiloni was due to visit the British embassy in Rome later to sign a book of condolences for the Manchester Arena attack victims.

He called the bombing "an attack on the whole of Europe" and said in a tweet that "Italy is united with the British population and government".