Cops bombard Naples after Mafia murders

Rome - A man was seriously wounded in a knife attack Thursday in Naples, where Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi was heading following a spate of murders, many apparently linked to the Mafia.

The 34-year-old man was attacked early in the morning in the old city of Naples, according to the Ansa news agency, which said he was in serious condition in hospital.

Prodi was to meet with local authorities to discuss ways of tackling the surge in crime which has seen seven murders since last Friday.

The government has already said it will send at least 1000 police reinforcements from November 9 to bolster the 13000-strong security force in the southern city, but has so far ruled out sending soldiers.

Southern Italy is notably poorer than the rest of the country and has been plagued by crime syndicates for nearly 200 years.

Unemployment in Naples is around 25 percent overall, and 53 percent in the 25-29 age group, according to figures from the National Statistical Institute for 2002.

In the second quarter of 2006, overall unemployment in Italy was seven percent. - Sapa-AFP


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