Two are arrested 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 yesterday.
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 Ms 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 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.