Three injured in gunfire as new Italian cabinet sworn in

Rome, April 28 (IANS) Two police officials and a pregnant woman passer-by were injured when an “insane man dressed in a suit” fired several shots during the swearing-in ceremony of Italy’s newly-appointed government in Rome Sunday.

Xinhua cited local media reports as saying that the man fired several shots outside the government office building, which is close to the presidential palace where Prime Minister Enrico Letta was being sworn in with his cabinet ministers.

The two police officials were rushed to a hospital, and one of them was reportedly in serious condition. The pregnant woman was slightly injured.

A man was arrested at the scene of the shooting and identified as Luigi Preite, a middle-aged Italian from the southern Calabria region.

He was said to be mentally disturbed.

“He was shooting police as if they were skittles. At first, we did not realize anything, we thought they were firecrackers,” a witness said.

The shooting scene and the surrounding area, which is less than one km from the government office building and was filled with crowds of people, were immediately cleared.

It was unclear whether the attack was linked to the start of the new government.

“It was a disquieting fact but I do not think there was a plan behind it,” newly appointed Justice Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri said.

Enrico Letta was Sunday sworn in as the new prime minister of Italy.

The coalition government of the Democratic Party and the People of Freedom is composed of 21 ministers including seven women, more than ever, and the country’s first non-white minister, Cecile Kyenge, who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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