Mon, Feb 05, 2018 - Page 5 News List

Six Africans hurt in Italy shooting spree

RANDOM RETALIATION:The assailant had been motivated by racial hatred and had a background for right-wing extremism and Nazism, the Italian minister of the interior said


An assailant with extreme right-wing sympathies on Saturday shot and wounded six African immigrants in a two-hour drive-by shooting spree, authorities said, terrorizing a small Italian city where a Nigerian man had been arrested days earlier in a teenager’s gruesome killing.

Police photographs showed the shooting suspect with a neo-Nazi tattoo prominently on his forehead as he sat in custody and an Italian flag tied around his neck as he was arrested in the central Italian city of Macerata.

Authorities identified him as Luca Traini, a 28-year-old Italian with no previous record.

Traini had run for town council on the anti-migrant Northern League’s list in a local election last year in Corridonia, the party confirmed, but its mayoral candidate lost the race.

The ANSA news agency quoted friends of Traini as saying that he had previously been affiliated with Italian extremist parties like the neo-fascist Forza Nuova and CasaPound.

The shooting spree came days after the slaying of 18-year-old Pamela Mastropietro and amid a heated electoral campaign in Italy, where anti-foreigner sentiment has become a key theme.

Italy has struggled with the arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees over the past few years coming across the Mediterranean Sea in smugglers’ boats.

After the shooting, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said in Rome that “the state will be particularly severe against whoever thinks of feeding the spiral of violence.”

In Macerata, Italian Minister of the Interior Marco Minniti said that the assailant had been motivated “by racial hatred,” and had “a background of right-wing extremism with clear references to fascism and Nazism.”

“What happened appears to be a completely random armed retaliation raid,” Minniti said, adding that evidence indicated that Traini had planned the attack and acted alone.

“In a democracy, it is not permitted for individuals to seek justice alone, even if in this case, there is nothing that recalls a notion of justice,” Minniti said.

Authorities said the six wounded — five men and one woman — appeared to be random targets in various parts of the city of 43,000 in Italy’s Marche region.

Italian news reports said that the assailant’s trajectory included the area where the teenaged murder victim was found and where the prime suspect in her slaying lived.

The identities and nationalities of the shooting victims remained unknown.

Hospital officials late on Saturday said that one had been treated and released, while the others had either undergone surgery or were facing operations for their injuries.

One of them remained in intensive care.

As the attack unfolded, police told residents to stay inside and ordered a halt to public transport to limit the casualties.

Shootings are rare in Italy and usually associated with the southern Italian mafia.

A video posted by il Resto di Carlino newspaper showed the suspect with an Italian flag draped over his shoulders being arrested by armed Carabinieri in the city center, near where he apparently fled his car on foot.

Italian news reports said a registered gun was found inside the car and the suspect did a fascist salute as he was arrested, but no salute was visible in the video.

The tattoo on Traini’s forehead was that of the Wolfangel, an ancient runic symbol that according to the Anti-Defamation League was appropriated by Nazi Germany and later adopted by neo-Nazis in Europe and the US.

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