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Roma gypsy camp set on fire in Italy after kidnapping claims

ROME, May 14 (RIA Novosti) - A crowd of angry Italians set a gypsy camp on fire in the outskirts of Naples following reports of an alleged kidnapping by a Roma girl, national media reported on Wednesday.

According to eyewitnesses, a crowd of several dozen people threw stones and Molotov cocktails at the Roma camp, forcing its inhabitants to seek police protection at a larger encampment.

The violence broke out following the alleged kidnapping of a local child by a 16-year-old Roma girl. According to the child's mother, the Roma girl entered the house while the door was unlocked, picked up the child and tried to escape, but was subsequently caught.

Italians blame immigrants, particularly the Romanian community, many of whom are Roma gypsies, for rising crime in the country.

The Roma camp in Naples was previously razed to the ground in 1999 when skinheads attacked the camp after a Roma driver hit two females riding on a scooter.

According to different estimates between 300,000 and 500,000 Romanians currently live in Italy, and their numbers have dramatically increased following Romania's entry to the EU.

In the most recent incident, Italy expelled 210 Romanian nationals with criminal records in an attempt to ease anti-Romanian feeling following the murder of the wife of a top navy commander near a Roma gypsy camp on the outskirts of Rome in November 2007.

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