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Elderly Italian arrested over deadly school bomb

Antonio Calanni / AP

The coffin containing the remains of Melissa Bassi, killed by a bomb in Brindisi, Italy, on May 19, is carried at her funeral two days after the blast..

ROME - Italian police took a 68-year-old man into custody on Wednesday in connection with last month's bombing near a school that killed a 16-year-old girl and wounded 10 others, local media reported Thursday.

Investigators initially suggested a mafia group was responsible for the May 19 bomb that was detonated in Brindisi, a port city in southern Italy.


After several hours of questioning in the southern city of Lecce, the man allegedly confessed to building and planting the bomb, Italian media reported.

The man, whose motive was described as a "personal" vendetta and not terrorism, is married and has two children, according to local reports.

Television news channel Sky Italia named the suspect as Giovanni Vantaggiato, an agricultural fuel depot owner from nearby Cupertino, adding that police and prosecutors were still working to verify details in his apparent admission.

The investigation into the bombing made "an important and definitive breakthrough" Wednesday, the head of the police force, Antonio Manganelli, told Reuters after news of a possible confession was reported.

Vataggiato’s apparent motive was described in Italian newspaper La Repubblica [linked site in Italian] as anger over personal debt.

Reuters and msnbc.com staff contributed to this report.

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