Italian right-wing extremist shoots 6 African immigrants

Authorities identified the shooter as 28-year-old right wing extremist Luca Traini.
Authorities identified the shooter as 28-year-old right wing extremist Luca Traini. Photo credit: Reuters

An Italian gunman with extreme right-wing sympathies has wounded six African immigrants in a two-hour drive-by shooting spree, authorities say.

The gunman terrorised a small central Italian city of Macerata, where a Nigerian man had been arrested days earlier in a teenager's gruesome killing.

Police photos showed the shooting suspect on Saturday 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,. 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 news agency ANSA quoted friends of his as saying that Traini 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 migrants in the last few years coming across the Mediterranean Sea in smugglers' boats.

After the attack, Premier Paolo Gentiloni warned in Rome that "the state will be particularly severe against whoever thinks of feeding the spiral of violence."

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

Authorities said the six wounded - five men and one woman - appeared to be random targets. Italian news reports indicated that the gunman's trajectory included the area where the Italian murder victim was found and where the prime suspect in her slaying lived.

Reuters