Extreme-right shooter targeting shows no remorse

More than 600,000 mainly African migrants have reached Italy by boat over the past four years and thousands have perished on the journey

More than 600,000 mainly African migrants have reached Italy by boat over the past four years and thousands have perished on the journey

A gunman shot six people in the Italian city of Macerata on Saturday, local authorities reported.

The shootings began at 11:00 a.m. local time (1000 GMT), and two hours later, police said an Italian had been arrested on suspicion of opening fire on foreigners from a vehicle.

The suspect, identified locally as Luca Traini, 28, might have acted in what is likely a revenge attack following the alleged murder of an Italian woman, in connection for which a male immigrant from Nigeria has been detained.

Traini had run for town council on the anti-migrant Northern League's ticket in a local election previous year in Corridonia, the party confirmed, but its mayoral candidate lost the race. Authorities ordered public transport halted and that students be kept inside schools, which are open on Saturdays.

Berlusconi took a swipe at the European Union on Sunday for failing to share the burden of Italy's migrant arrivals, saying: "Today, Italy counts for nothing in Brussels and the world".

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The alleged gunman, draped in the Italian flag, made his way on foot to the war memorial and made a fascist salute before he was arrested. Italian news reports said a gun was found in the auto and the suspect did a fascist salute as he was arrested, but no salute was visible in the video.

Luca Traini is being held on suspicion of attempted murder with an aggravating circumstance of racial hatred for allegedly targeting the five men and one woman in drive-by shootings on Saturday.

"They were all of color". As was grave what happened to Pamela.

Earlier in the day, Macerata Mayor Romano Carancini had announced a shutdown of schools and offices while the armed assailant remained at large in the town, located about 200 kilometers east of the capital Rome.

Pamela Mastropietro's body was found dismembered and packed into two suitcases near Macerata.

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"Whoever, like Salvini, exploits news events and tragedies for electoral purposes is among those responsible for the spiral of hatred and violence that we must stop as soon as possible", Grasso said. "We will stop it together", he said.

About 200,000 migrants in Italy are awaiting decisions over asylum claims and populist politicians are making the issue the dominant theme in their campaigns for the elections on March 4. That has drawn sharp rebukes that Salvini is using the migrant crisis to foment xenophobia for political gain.

Matteo Salvini, head of the far-right anti-immigration Northern League party - an ally of Berlusconi's centre-right Forza Italia - on Saturday condemned the shooting spree but also said the "invasion of migrants" was at the root of a "social clash".

Seeking the moral high ground, the ruling center-left Democratic Party (PD) called for calm.

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