A splinter group of the Red Brigades terrorist movement has said it killed Marco Biagi, the government labour adviser shot dead on Tuesday.
In a document police consider authentic, the Red Brigades for the Construction of the Fighting Communist Party said Mr Biagi, the author of labour reforms, had been "executed" because he sought to "exploit the workers".
Unlike the smudgy missives of the original urban guerrilla movement, this manifesto was delivered via the internet. A 26-page diatribe railing against the "imperialist world order" was sent to an obscure site, www.caserta240re.it, where it was published and e-mailed to political parties and unions.
The group praised the 11 September attacks as effective terrorism. "With this attack" on Mr Biagi, the document said, "the Red Brigades want to move forward the class struggle". It also referred to the 1999 murder of Massimo D'Antona, another government labour adviser. Ballistics tests showed the same weapon was used in both killings.
Police believe the new Red Brigades include intransigent and minor members of the group that kidnapped, wounded and killed members of the establishment in the Seventies and Eighties.
Carlo Ciampi, Italy's President, said dialogue and unity were the only ways to combat terrorism. Yet his calls to tone down the political rhetoric went unheeded. Carlo Taormina, a former junior interior minister, accused the leader of the biggest trade union, Sergio Cofferati, and "communist left" of being "objectively responsible" for Mr Biagi's death.
The Biagi family has opted for a private funeral, despite the offer of a state ceremony. It is said to be angry he had no police protection, even though he was a known terrorist target. A huge protest is expected in Rome tomorrow against Mr Biagi's reforms, which let workers be fired more easily.