(Fr Paolo Dall’Oglio in Italy, 28 August 2012/veDro – l’Italia al futuro)

An Italian Jesuit priest who disappeared last month in eastern Syria may still be alive, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Monday, almost a week after it said he had been killed by al Qaeda-linked rebels.

The British-based monitoring group cited sources close to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) disputing assertions by local activists – and reported by the observatory – that Father Paolo Dall’Oglio had been killed while in the custody of the Islamist ISIL rebels.

Dall’Oglio, who supports the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, disappeared in the rebel-held city of Raqqa on July 29. Activists initially said he was kidnapped by ISIL fighters, although some later said he had met them to negotiate a truce with Kurdish brigades.

It was not immediately possible to confirm Monday’s report. The Observatory called on those holding Dall’Oglio to produce evidence that he is alive.