Guns blaze in Corleone

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The Independent Online
Corleone, Sicily (Reuter) - Sicilian gangsters shot dead a young couple in Corleone over the weekend raising fears of a revival of Mafia clan warfare after a 16-year truce.

Francesco Saporito, 30, and his wife Giovanna Giammona, 27, died in a hail of bullets when their car was ambushed by three gunmen on Saturday evening. The couple's two-year-old son survived without serious injury because his mother shielded him from the gunfire, police said.

Ms Giammona was the second person from the same family killed in recent weeks in the hilltop town some 40 miles inland from the island capital, Palermo.Her brother, Giusto, 22, was shot dead by gunmen in January while working in his clothes shop. His killing prompted an anti-Mafia demonstration by hundreds of locals.

Police said they had not found any trace of Mafia connections with the Giammona family but added that the murders bore the hallmark of the dreaded crime organisation.

The shootings are the first Mafia killings for 16 years in the town, which was the birthplace of a host of Cosa Nostra chiefs including the "boss of bosses" Salvatore "Toto" Riina.

But more subtle forms of Mafia intimidation have been on the rise in recent months.

Last March, Giuseppe Cipriani, the leftist mayor of Corleone and anti- Mafia campaigner, found the head of a calf in front of his house - an emblem of intimidation associated with the mob.