Mafia fingered as bomb kills teen in Italy
A SHADOWY Mafia organisation is suspected of a bombing that killed a 16-year-old girl and injured up to 10 other students in the southern Italian city of Brindisi yesterday.
Police and paramilitary "Carabinieri" were raiding the homes of suspected mafiosi belonging to a crime group known as the Sacra Corona Unita, or United Sacred Crown.
Two gas canisters equipped with a timer device exploded outside the Morvillo-Falcone vocational institute, which is named after an anti-Mafia prosecutor, Giovanni Falcone, and his wife, Francesca Morvillo, a judge, who were blown up by Sicily's Cosa Nostra Mafia almost exactly 20 years near Palermo airport.
The fact the bomb went off just days before the 20th anniversary of the assassinations, on Wednesday, may have been a coincidence, given that Cosa Nostra and Sacra Corona Unita are quite separate Mafia groups.
Sacra Corona Unita, based in the region of Puglia, the heel of the Italian boot, is the least known of Italy's four Mafia groups.
It was founded in the Seventies and has made huge profits from gun-running, smuggling and extortion, although its power is believed to have waned in recent years due to police crackdowns.
But it has ready access to explosives through its links with organised crime in the Balkans.
While the Italian government cautioned against jumping to conclusions about who might be behind the attack, local officials had little doubt, blaming it on the group and saying it may have been a reprisal for recent police operations.
Ten days ago police conducted a raid in which they arrested 16 alleged members of Sacra Corona Unita, charging them with extortion, illegal weapons ownership and Mafia association.