ITALY

Italian gunman ‘targeted politicians’

AFP

An Italian prosecutor has said that a man who shot two policemen in front of the Italian prime minister’s office in Rome on Sunday intended to shoot politicians.

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Politicians were the target of a man who shot two policemen outside the Italian prime minister’s office in Rome at around 11:30am on Sunday, an Italian prosecutor has said.

The assailant was arrested immediately and taken to hospital with bruises after he was tackled to the ground.

Rome Prosecutor Pierfilippo Laviani told reporters he had questioned the suspect who said he had``wanted to shoot politicians, but given that he couldn't reach any, he shot the Carabinieri'' police at the edge of Chigi Square.

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FRANCE 24's Josephine McKenna reports from Rome, Italy

The shooter was identified by police as 49-year-old Luigi Preiti, an unemployed man from the southern region of Calabria.

One policeman was taken to Rome hospital with a neck injury.

A female passer-by was also injured in the incident, though it was unclear how.

The drama unfolded at the same time as Enrico Letta and his new cabinet were being sworn in at ceremony led by President Giorgio Napolitano at the president’s palace about one kilometres away.

The Cabinet members were kept inside until it was clear there was no immediate danger from the gunman.

New Interior Minister Angelo Alfano later described the shooting as an "isolated incident."

Sky TG24 TV quoted the assailant's brother as saying the alleged attacker had lost his job in a construction firm and was upset over marital problems.

Mayor of Rome Gianni Alemanno said the shooting could not be described as terrorism.

"It's not an act of terrorism but certainly the climate of the past few months has not helped," Alemanno told reporters.

Italy has experienced a climate of tensions since inconclusive elections in February left the nation in political deadlock.

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