- The Washington Times - Monday, March 3, 2003

ROME, March 3 (UPI) — Mario Galesi, an alleged member of Italy's Red Brigades terrorist group, died Monday after a shootout with police on a Rome-Florence train Sunday, a police spokesman said in Rome.

Galesi, 47, was wanted in connection with the 1998 Red Brigades killing of Massimo d'Antona, a top government adviser. He had been serving a sentence for a 1997 hold-up of a post office but had escaped from house arrest and disappeared.

On Sunday, police had boarded the train at Fornovo, near Parma, for a routine passenger check — a procedure introduced after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on New York and Washington by the al Qaida network.

When police questioned the authenticity of Galesi's identification card, he produced a gun and grabbed one of the officers, threatening to kill him if he was not allowed to leave the train.

In the ensuing shootout, Galesi killed the policeman and was wounded. He died in hospital Sunday.

Police arrested his companion, Desdemona Lioce, who was traveling with him. She told police she was a member of the Red Brigades but refused to give them any information. However, police said they believe that Galesi and Lioce were on their way to carry out a terrorist attack.

The Marxist Red Brigades were active in the late 1970s, gaining notoriety with a series of murders and kneecappings of government officials and leading Italian businessmen. In 1979 they kidnapped former Christian Democrat Prime Minister Aldo Moro and eventually assassinated him.

After a series of arrests of key figures, the group faded from view. A year ago, it resurfaced and has since carried out a series of minor terrorist acts.

Observers familiar with Red Brigades' methods believe that a new generation of activists is building another terror network, but the orders are coming from the jailed veterans.

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