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Two Italian intelligence staffers among four dead in Italy lake storm

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Four people, including two Italians who worked for the intelligence service, died on Sunday (28 May) after a tourist boat capsized when a storm hit Lake Maggiore in northern Italy, local officials said.

A pensioner who was formerly a member of the Israeli security forces and the Russian wife of the boat captain also died in the accident, Israel's foreign ministry and local media said.

The 16-metre (52.5-feet) long boat was carrying 25 people when it was hit by a sudden, violent storm on Sunday evening, sinking the vessel near the town of Lisanza, at the southern end of the lake.

Most of the passengers and crew managed to escape and either swam ashore or else were pulled to safety by other boats.

The dead Italians were named as Claudio Alonzi, 62, and Tiziana Barnobi, 53. The senior government official tasked with overseeing Italy's secret services, Alfredo Mantovano, expressed his sympathy to families of the victims.

Italian media said they had gone to Lake Maggiore to celebrate a friend's birthday. No immediate information was given about what they did in the intelligence service.

Israel's foreign ministry said it was working with diplomats to bring home the body of the Israeli, whose name was not given.

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The Russian victim was identified as Anya Bozhkova, 50. She was the wife of the captain and owner of the pleasure boat, the "Goduria". He survived the incident.

The sinking was the latest in a series of disasters linked to extreme weather. Fifteen people died earlier this month in floods that hit the northern region of Emilia Romagna.

Six months ago, 12 people died on the southern island of Ischia in a landslide triggered by torrential rain, while 11 people were killed last September by flash floods in the central region of Marche.

Last July, an ice avalanche in the Italian Alps killed 11 people following a heatwave that exacerbated the worst drought that Italy has suffered for at least 70 years.

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