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October 13, 2009

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Libyan man strikes Italian army base

A LIBYAN man set off a small bomb while trying to enter an army barracks in Milan yesterday, seriously injuring himself and slightly wounding the guard who stopped him, Italian law enforcement officials said.
The man attempted to enter the barracks on foot at around 7:45am local time, taking advantage of the main gate opening to allow an authorized car through, said army spokesman Colonel Giuseppe Affini.
"He was immediately blocked by the guard, who yelled 'Halt.' He exploded the briefcase that he was holding," Affini said.
Authorities said the man appeared to be acting alone, and Affini denied initial media reports that the man had shouted "Out of Afghanistan!" He said the man had shouted something in Arabic, but it was not clear.
Some of the 2,800 troops that Italy has deployed in Afghanistan are based in the army barracks that was targeted, Affini said.
"It is a serious incident from all points of view, but it should not be exaggerated," Milan Prosecutor Armando Spataro told a news conference.
The explosives caused little damage to the structure "which demonstrates that there was not a significant quantity of explosives," Spataro said.
The 20-year-old guard was lightly hurt and treated at the scene.
It was not yet clear if the suspect made the explosive device himself, Spataro said.
"It seems like an isolated act," Francesco Rutelli, a lawmaker who heads a parliamentary committee that oversees secret services, told Radio 24.
The attacker was being treated at a Milan hospital for injuries to his hand and his face which were not life-threatening.


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