The civic body of Italy’s Amatrice town, which was recently hit by a devastating earthquake, may sue French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo for its depiction of the tragedy, Reuters reported. The council’s lawyer Mario Cicchetti said, "This is a macabre, senseless and absurd insult to victims of a natural event." A local prosecutor has been asked to investigate the case for "aggravated defamation".

Titled ‘Earthquake Italian style’, the cartoon received flak from Italians and social media users for its portrayal of the victims as versions of pasta dishes. The magazine captioned illustrations of a bloodied and bandaged man "Penne in tomato sauce", an injured woman as "Penne au gratin", and a dilapidated building with feet emerging from it "Lasagne". Nearly 300 people lost their lives in the earthquake that shook the central Apennines Mountain region of Italy and displaced thousands.

The famous tomato-based amatriciana pasta dishes have derived their names from Amatrice. Charlie Hebdo, on Facebook, said, "Italians, it’s not Charlie Hebdo that has built your homes, it’s the mafia!" The construction sector in the country is rife with irregularities, and reconstruction efforts have been hindered by organised crime, according to Reuters.

Although the cartoons were published in France, the council said the case should be heard in Italy as the cartoons were seen and shared there. Judges in Rieti, central Italy, will decide on pursuing the investigation against the cartoonists and the magazine's director, the lawyer told Reuters.

Ten people were killed in a terrorist attack on the magazine's offices in France last year, as a purported reaction to Charlie Hebdo's publication of a cartoon depicting Prophet Mohammad. The magazine has been criticised for several of its other cartoons.