Analysis 18 Apr 16

Italian Soldiers Keep Dying from ‘Balkan Syndrome’

At least 300 Italian soldiers may have died from exposure to depleted uranium in Bosnia and Kosovo - but the Italian authorities continue to deny the existence of a connection.

Rodolfo Toe
BIRN
 
 An Italian soldier on the hills above Sarajevo in 1996 | Photo: NATO

More than 300 Italian soldiers may have died during the past 15 years from exposure without protection to depleted uranium during missions to Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, while another 3,700 are sick for the same reason.

“To date, 331 Italian soldiers have died and another 3,764 have developed cancer as a consequence of having been exposed to depleted uranium,” said Domenico Leggiero, a former Italian pilot who is now president of the Osservatorio Militare [Military Observatory] association, which represents the victims and their relatives.

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