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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Gunman in Italy migrant shooting had far-right links

The alleged shooter had ties with neo-Nazi and neo-Fascist groups

Italian nationalist Luca Traini was arrested by Italian Carabinieri after shooting with a gun from a vehicle on passersby in the central Italian town of Macerata, Italy. EPA
Italian nationalist Luca Traini was arrested by Italian Carabinieri after shooting with a gun from a vehicle on passersby in the central Italian town of Macerata, Italy. EPA

A gunman shot and injured several African migrants in central Italy in what could be a racially-motivated attack following the murder of an Italian teenager.

The man opened fire in a series of drive-by shootings from a car in the city of Macerata wounding some seven people including one woman, according to local media.

The suspected gunman, 28, called Luca Traini, was arrested two hours after the shooting first started as he drove around various locations of the city in a black car, according to reports.

Italy's Interior Minister Marco Minniti said Traini had acted alone on Saturday but planned the attack in advance.

Traini has both neo-Nazi and neo-Fascist ties and ran unsuccessfully with the anti-migrant Northern League party in a local election last year. He was previously associated with the neo-fascist Forza Nuova and Casa Pound.

The shootings happened two days after the dismembered body of an 18-year-old Italian woman was discovered hidden in two suitcases near Macerata. A Nigerian man, 29, was arrested for the crime.

Several messages were posted on social media of the victim’s mother calling for reprisal attacks, according to the Ansa news agency.

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Local media said the alleged gunman got out of his car and climbed the steps of a war monument and made a fascist salute before he was arrested, according to local media and Ansa.

He was pictured being led away by police with an Italian flag wrapped around him. Police also tweeted a picture of the arrest.

Right-wing politicians have seized on the death of the woman, Pamela Mastropietro, to promote their anti-migrant policies before elections which are due to be held on March 4.

The head of the Northern League, Matteo Salvini, has cited the killing and is pledging to deport 150,000 migrants in his first year in office if he is elected premier.