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Teenage girl killed in Italy blast

A bomb has exploded outside a high school in southern Italy named after a slain anti-Mafia prosecutor as students arrived for class, killing a teenage girl and wounding several other classmates, officials said.

The device went off a few minutes before 8am in the Adriatic port town of Brindisi just as students milled outside, chatting and getting ready for class at the Morvillo-Falcone vocational institute.

The school is named after the slain anti-Mafia prosecutor Giovanni Falcone and his wife, Francesca Morvillo, a judge who was also killed in the 1992 bombing in Sicily by Cosa Nostra.

One of the wounded students, a girl who was walking alongside the victim outside the school in Brindisi, was reported to be in a critical condition after surgery. Officials said at least seven students were injured, but some news reports put the figure at 10.

Dr Paola Ciannamea, who helped treat the injured at hospital, said that one of the injured was a teenage girl who was in grave but stable condition after surgery.

She added that plastic surgery was still being performed on some of the other injured, who suffered burns in the blast.

An unidentified hospital official, briefing reporters there, said the critically injured student was in stable condition after surgery and that several of the injured students had suffered burns.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility.

Italy has been marking the 20th anniversary of the Sicilian highway attack, but it was unclear if there was an organised crime link to Saturday's explosion.

Interior minister Anna Maria Cancellieri, in charge of domestic security, said she was "struck" by the fact that the school was named after the slain hero and his wife, but she cautioned that investigators at that point "have no elements" to blame the school attack on organised crime.

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