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Rome has given honorary citizenship to Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier kidnapped by militants linked to Gaza's militant Islamic Hamas group three years ago

Shalit's father, Noam Shalit, received the honor at a city hall ceremony Wednesday.

A giant photo of the soldier hung in the piazza, with the words Rome wants its citizen Gilad Shalit free - words Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno repeated at the evening ceremony.

The city council voted to give Shalit honorary citizenship to coincide with Thursday's third anniversary of his capture by militants in a cross-border raid from Gaza into Israel.

Talks to trade Shalit for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israel have been unsuccessful.