Mafia blamed for Italian court bomb
No one was injured in the explosion
A powerful homemade bomb exploded yesterday at a court in a southern Italian city, in an attack the authorities blamed on the local Mafia.
The device, consisting of a gas cylinder with dynamite attached to it, detonated at 5 a.m. (0400 GMT) in an entrance to the court in Reggio Calabria, damaging the building, according to police quoted in the media.
No one was injured in the explosion, which happened in the entry to the building housing the prosecutor's office in the centre of the city.
A second gas cylinder bomb attack yesterday morning targeted a fishmonger in the north of the city.
The Reggio Calabria prosecutor Salvatore Di Landro told journalists that surveillance camera footage showed two men in motorcycle helmets placing the bomb at the court.
Following a two-hour meeting, the authorities said they were sure the blast was the work of the local Mafia, the 'Ndragheta, and security measures and police checks are to be stepped up.
Mr Di Landro said the attack targeted the prosecutor's office because of its work confiscating Mafia assets and a number of ongoing appeals in cases against organised crime.
Deputy prosecutor Franco Mollace said the incident was prompted by "a sharp change of tack in our team's activities which has not pleased organised crime".
Confiscating Mafia assets during investigations is seen as an important weapon in the fight against crime.
Mafia clans are also worried the Reggio prosecutor may use appeal hearings to try to increase their members' prison terms, according to the online newspaper Il Sole e 24 Ore.
Up to now, appeals have tended to reduce sentences, sometimes by as much as a half, the website said.
A number of public figures including Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano spoke out in support of the Reggio prosecutors following the attack.
The national anti-Mafia prosecutor Piero Grasso expressed his "solidarity with the Reggio prosecutor and all the city's judiciary, who are victims of a very serious act of intimidation".
Yesterday's attacks came after another gas cylinder bomb targeted a bar run by associates of Emilio Di Giovine, a former member of the 'Ndrangheta, shortly before Christmas. Mr Di Giovine, a drug and gun trafficker thought to be an 'Ndrangheta boss in Milan, is cooperating with the authorities to try to have his sentence reduced.