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Mafia Shootout In Italian Nursery Playground
A mafia gangster has been shot dead by a rival in the courtyard of an Italian nursery as dozens of children rehearsed their Christmas carol service.
Victim Luigi Lucenti, 50, was chased into the nursery by masked gunmen and shot several times at point blank range before his killers escaped on a high powered motorbike.
Police said it was a miracle no-one else had been hurt as terrified pupils and teachers dived for cover when the hitmen struck.
TV footage showed a huge pool of blood on the floor where Lucenti was shot.
The killers struck at a nursery in the Scampia district of Naples - home to the local mafia known as the Camorra - the scene of a bloody turf war between mobsters over the control of the lucrative drugs markets.
Lucenti was the latest victim in a feud which has seen dozens killed as the rival Scissionisti gang, to whom Lucenti was linked, fight it out with the Girati.
An innocent man was shot dead last week after being mistaken by hitmen for a member of the rival gang.
"It appears that Lucenti ran into the nursery thinking that his killers would not follow him inside but they did and they shot him several times at point blank range in the courtyard," said a Naples police spokesman.
''The children and teachers were inside at the time and it is a miracle that no-one else was hurt. The children were inside singing carols for the Christmas performance. It looks like he was hit once in the street outside and then he ran into the nursery and was deliberately followed inside.''
Headteacher Vincenzo Montesano said: ''The children were all led out through a secondary exit. They didn't see the shooting so we hope they will all be ok. We will just have to wait and see. It's lucky they were inside singing and not on a break otherwise things could have been very different.''
Interior Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri said: ''Sadly, Scampia is like an open wound. We are dealing with a battle that has gone on for a long time and will take time. The level of police officers will continue to remain high in the area and we will not weaken our stance.''
Local councillor Angelo Pisani said: "We strongly condemn this action but that's not enough. These beasts acted without any thought of the children who were in the nursery and who risked being caught up in what happened. What if the children had been outside? What if they had seen the body?''