Blast near Italian school kills one, wounds several

An explosive device went off outside a high school in Italy. It killed one student and injured several others. People gather during a demonstration of solidarity in front of the Pantheon in Rome for the victims Enlarge photo

Roberto Monaldo/Associated Press

An explosive device went off outside a high school in Italy. It killed one student and injured several others. People gather during a demonstration of solidarity in front of the Pantheon in Rome for the victims

ROME – A bomb exploded Saturday outside an Italian high school named after a slain anti-Mafia prosecutor, killing a student and wounding several others, officials said, and rattling a country already tense about a spate of attacks on government officials and buildings.

The device went off a few minutes before 8 a.m. in the Adriatic port town of Brindisi in the country’s south just as students milled outside, chatting and getting ready for class at the mainly all-girls Morvillo-Falcone vocational institute.

The school – which prepares students for jobs in fashion and social services – is named in honor of prosecutor Giovanni Falcone and his wife, Francesca Morvillo, a judge who died with her husband in a 1992 highway bombing in Sicily by the Cosa Nostra.

Mesagne Mayor Franco Scoditti identified the victim as Melissa Bassi, 16, from the town. Brindisi civil-protection agency official Fabiano Amati said she died of her wounds after being taken to hospital.

One of the shaken students who witnessed the attack told reporters that one injured girl, her hair charred, screamed the name “Melissa, Melissa” when she realized her friend was gravely injured.

Amati said at least seven other students were hospitalized, but some news reports put the figure at 10. Perrino health director Graziella Di Bella said most of them suffered burns and shrapnel-like wounds, and several had undergone surgery.

“The explosion sent out fragments and flames ... pieces of iron,” Di Bella told Sky TG24 TV in an interview. She said a team of four psychologists were working with the students.

“One of the (injured) girls asked me: ‘What do we have to do with this?’ Di Bella said, adding the students were feeling a sense of disorientation, terror” as well as anger.