Bomb injures 4 at Italian police station

September 19, 1993|By New York Times News Service

ROME -- A powerful car bomb ripped through a police station in Catania early yesterday, wounding at least four police officers, one of them seriously. The police said the bomb appeared to have been set by the Mafia.

It was the second attack in Sicily attributed to organized crime in the last week. The first was the fatal shooting Wednesday night of the Rev. Giuseppe Puglisi, a staunchly anti-Mafia Roman Catholic priest, in Palermo.

The explosion yesterday carved a crater 10 feet in diameter in the street in front of the police station and smashed apartments and automobiles nearby. Three officers escaped with minor injuries, officials said.

A fourth, Sebastiano Grasso, was in grave condition, with one leg crushed, three fingers torn off one hand and his right eye struck by shrapnel.

The police raided apartments throughout Catania at night, rounding up dozens of people suspected of links with organized crime.

The new attack prompted angry comments from Italian officials, who fear an intensification of violence here linked to efforts to stamp out the dense web of crime organizations in southern Italy: the Mafia in Sicily, the Camorra in Naples and the Ndrangheta in Calabria.

Prime Minister Carlo Azeglio Ciampi said the attack was evidently the Mafia's response to the "ever more incisive activity" of anti-Mafia police forces.

Most of the Mafia's top-level bosses are now in jail as a result of the crackdown on crime.

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