Two youths on a motorcycle shot and killed an Italian air force general today. The defense minister was quoted as saying the Red Brigades leftist terrorist group was behind the attack.
Defense Ministry spokesman Cmdr. Franceso Di Mento identified the victim of the 6:45 p.m. shooting as Gen. Livio Giorgieri, an engineer in charge of purchasing and maintaining arms and aircraft.
Police said the shooting occurred in the Aurelia section of Rome.
The Italian news agency AGI said the general was in an air force car when two youths, their faces covered with the shields of their helmets, pulled up alongside his car and opened fire with pistols.
Call Identifies Group
"The Red Brigades continue to operate," Defense Minister Giovanni Spadolini was quoted by news agencies as saying as he left a Cabinet meeting to go to the scene of the killing.
About an hour after the attack, a woman claimed in a telephone call to the Milan office of the Rome daily newspaper La Repubblica that the shooting was the work of the Fighting Communist Union, the Italian news agency ANSA reported. The group is believed to be a Red Brigades faction, the news agency said.
The Red Brigades was largely considered smashed in the early 1980s after an intensive government crackdown. However, the terrorists recently have been on the attack.
On Feb. 14, gunmen killed two policemen after ambushing and robbing a mail truck in Rome. Responsibility for the attack was claimed by the Red Brigades.
Between 1977 and 1980, the Red Brigades terrorized Italy, killing 17 public figures. Their most audacious challenge to the state came in 1978 when they kidnaped and later murdered former Prime Minister Aldo Moro.