Italy arrests two in school bomb attack

Italian police have arrested two suspects over the bombing of a school that killed a 16-year-old girl and seriously injured five more teenagers, media reports said here Sunday.

The men were identified from security cameras at the vocational school in the southern city of Brindisi, where the bomb ripped through a group of students as they waited to begin classes early Saturday.

One of the suspects is an ex-soldier with knowledge of electronics, the daily Corriere della Sera reported, citing local news website Brindisireport.

Melissa Bassi died from her injuries in hospital, an only child from a working-class family who was studying to be a social worker.

Another young victim was fighting for her life after suffering extensive injuries to her chest, and another was badly wounded in the legs.

Italy's flags flew at half mast and the Adriatic port city held the first of two days of mourning as Pope Benedict XVI condemned the bombing as "despicable" and said he is praying for Bassi.

Public prosecutor Marco Di Napoli said there was clearly "a wish to carry out a massacre," while playing down speculation that terrorist, foreign or mafia figures could be behind the attack.

"We are far from knowing the truth only 24 hours after" the attack, which has not been claimed, he admitted at a news conference.

"All possibilities remain open," he said, but added: "The most likely hypothesis is that of an individual and isolated act. It's not impossible that it was the work of a single person."

He said police had a photofit of the assailant, whom he described as an "adult man who does not appear to be a foreigner," after security cameras captured "terrible images" of him detonating the bomb.

The person or persons who carried out the attack were familiar with the school's routines and had chosen the precise moment to strike, he said, emphasising that they were "expert at electronics."

"It could be the act of someone at war with the rest of the world or who has psychological problems," he said.

Police have searched the suspects' homes, Corriere reported.

Italy was in shock after the bombing, which revived memories of attacks by political militants and powerful mafia groups.

As people came to the school to lay flowers and attach messages to the perimeter fence, head teacher Angelo Rampino expressed incomprehension over the tragedy. "It is the first time in Italy that a school has been attacked. The entire country must rise up. We cannot accept this."

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti condemned the bombing as tragic and criminal, on the sidelines of the G8 summit in the United States.

The victims were all scorched by the blast, caused by three gas canisters and a timer, with doctors and witnesses describing flying shrapnel and their blackened bodies on the ground.

Thousands of young people spontaneously took to the streets of Italy's main cities in emotional demonstrations against the violence, which many protesters blamed on a rising climate of social tension linked to a severe economic crisis.

The region where the attack took place is a hub of the Sacra Corona Unita (United Sacred Crown), a local mafia that has been under pressure from investigators in recent years and whose influence is seen as being on the wane.

The group, which is heavily involved in drug-running and arms smuggling through the Balkans as well as human trafficking, is believed to be behind a separate bomb attack in the region earlier this month against an anti-mafia campaigner.

Observers pointed to the fact that the school is named after Francesca Morvillo, the wife of famous anti-mafia judge Giovanni Falcone, who was assassinated with her husband and three bodyguards by a mafia bomb 20 years ago on Wednesday.

But officials have cautioned that it is unlikely the Sacra Corona Unita would target civilians in its own territory and said the device used was not sophisticated enough for an organisation that has easy access to explosives.

At a demonstration in Rome on Saturday, several participants said the bombing was reminiscent of attacks carried out by far-right and far-left militants in the 1970s and 1980s in a period known as the "Years of Lead".

Also reviving those memories, an Italian anarchist group claimed responsibility for shooting and wounding Roberto Adinolfi, the head of nuclear energy company Ansaldo Nucleare, earlier this month.

The Informal Anarchist Federation (FAI), has claimed dozens of attacks since 2003 including letter bombing campaigns that have targeted then-European Commission president and Deutsche Bank chief Josef Ackermann.

FAI warned that the shooting of Adinolfi was the first of eight attacks in revenge for the arrest of eight Greek anarchists.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • ‘Next leader must not be newbie’
    ‘Next leader must not be newbie’

    Vice President Jejomar Binay believes the next president of the Philippines must have vast experience and a long track record in governance and in dealing with crises. “I am very much convinced that the local government is the best training ground for those who want to run for national government positions,” he said. Binay said he is determined to run for president in 2016 on the strength of his competence and track record. …

  • Massacre suspect tests negative for poisoning
    Massacre suspect tests negative for poisoning

    A suspect in the Maguindanao massacre case who had been examined at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) tested negative for poisoning, medical records released yesterday showed. However, the Quezon City court handling the multiple murder case resolved to isolate Police Officer 1 Pia Kamidon from the rest of the accused detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig for his safety. In a two-page order, Regional Trial Court Branch 221 assisting Judge Genie Gapas-Agbada ordered jail officials to …

  • ‘Homework first before Facebook’
    ‘Homework first before Facebook’

    President Aquino elicited laughter from students here as he reminded them to open books first before Facebook. “Finish your assignments first before making a raid in the Clash of Clans,” Aquino said, referring to a popular online game. In a speech during the turnover yesterday of two new three-story buildings at the Tarlac National High School, he said the government could only provide opportunities for learning but the rest of the work would be up to the students. The new school buildings …

  • Espina resignation confirmed; Noy looks for replacement
    Espina resignation confirmed; Noy looks for replacement

    President Aquino ended speculations yesterday and confirmed that Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina had indeed resigned as officer-in-charge of the Philippine National Police. As of this time, we are conducting various interviews and checks on the various candidates,” Aquino told reporters at the Tarlac National High School in Tarlac City. Aquino had kind words for Espina, saying that he stood by and defended the 44 slain police Special Action Force (SAF) commandos in the operation in …

  • Palace welcomes G7 concern over sea reclamation
    Palace welcomes G7 concern over sea reclamation

    President Aquino welcomed yesterday the Group of Seven industrialized countries’ expression of concern over rising tension in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea, calling it a clear indication of the global scope of the problem ramped up by China’s massive reclamation activities in disputed waters. In Tarlac City where he led the turnover of new classrooms, Aquino told reporters that goodwill and not tension must prevail in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea, where territorial …

  • DepEd, TESDA tie up for K to 12
    DepEd, TESDA tie up for K to 12

    The Department of Education (DepEd) has partnered with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in the first two years of implementation of the K to 12 program. “We will use TESDA centers as technical-vocational laboratories for senior high school,” DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro said during the inauguration of 30 new classrooms at the Tarlac National High School yesterday. The classrooms were constructed in partnership with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. …

  • SE Asia Stocks-Philippine falls on foreign selling; others flat to weaker

    BANGKOK, April 17 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets ended flat to weaker on Friday as Philippine stocks slid on selling led by foreign funds and Singapore shares extended losses with investors ... …

  • Philippine Airlines parent says back in black
    Philippine Airlines parent says back in black

    Philippine Airlines' parent firm said it had returned to profitability, the first time in three years either entity reported being in the black for an entire year. In a filing with the Philippine Stock Exchange Thursday, PAL Holdings reported an after-tax net profit of 129.74 million pesos ($2.93 million) in its fiscal year to December 31. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options