A bomb at a vocational school in the port city of Brindisi on the Adriatic coast in Southern Italy has killed one student and injured another seven as classes were preparing to start this morning as reported by David Batty for The Guardian.
The school was named in honor of the wife of anti-Mafia prosecutor Giovanni Falcone after both were slain almost exactly twenty years ago as reported by Nick Squires for The Telegraph: "the prosecutor, his wife and their three bodyguards were killed on May 23 1992, when the Sicilian Mafia planted half a tonne of explosives on the road between Palermo's airport and the city centre."
Although responsibility for the deadly bomb has not yet been determined anti-mafia investigators are on the scene, and early suspicion is directed at the Sacra Corona Unita or Puglian Mafia "who have close links with the Russian and Albanian mafia and are linked to drug and gun running" as reported by Nick Pisa for Sky News: "Brindisi's mayor Cosimo Consales said 'this is an unprecedented attack by organised crime.'"
Tributes all across southern Italy, including in Brindisi, have been planned for this weekend to mark the 20th anniversary of Falcone's slaying, and yesterday in Washington, D.C. the FBI honored the courageous mob buster according to an agency press release:
The FBI's special relationship with Falcone was forged decades ago through two major cases in the U.S. and Italy at a time when the Mafia was powerful in both places. Louis Freeh, a federal prosecutor in New York City who would later become Director of the FBI, was cracking down on the Mafia. In a case known as the Pizza Connection, the FBI, the NYPD, and federal prosecutors teamed with Falcone and Italian authorities to bust an international heroin smuggling ring that laundered drug money through pizza parlors. The 1985 trial cemented Freeh and Falcone's personal and professional relationships. At the same time in Italy, Falcone was prosecuting his own Mafia trial -- the Maxi Trial -- wich put hundreds of mafiosi behind bars.
UPDATE: The paramilitary Carabinieri are "raiding the homes of suspected mafiosi belonging to a crime group known as the Sacra Corona Unita, or United Sacred Crown, and checking their whereabouts prior to the attack," and at least one political official believes the attack may be in reprisal for a recent crackdown against the Puglian Mafia as reported by Nick Squires for The Telegraph: "'It was a Mafia attack,' said Nicola Fratoianni, a regional official. 'A bomb placed in front of a school bearing the Falcone name is a clear message from the clans — a reprisal to recent police operations.'"
UPDATE: The bomb "was at a bus stop and timed to explode on the arrival of the bus from the nearby village of Masagne, where 10 days ago 16 alleged Mafiosi were rounded up," and "two of the injured are daughters of an anti-mafia businessman" as reported by Euro News.
UPDATE: An Italian official says the bombing "was probably carried out by a single person rather than the mafia" as reported by BBC News: "chief prosecutor Marco Dinapoli said there was 'significant' video evidence suggesting that one man had set off the device, but gave no further details."