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Italy reinforces police after mafia hit on toddler

Tuesday - 3/18/2014, 1:30pm  ET

ROME (AP) -- Italy's interior minister has ordered 60 police reinforcements into southern Italy after an apparent mafia hit in which assailants opened fire on a car carrying three little boys, killing a 2-year-old.

The boys' mother and her companion were also fatally gunned down late Monday near Taranto, in the "heel" of boot-shaped Italy. News reports said the slain toddler was in the front seat on one of the adults' laps while his surviving older brothers were sitting in the backseat and were unharmed by the spray of bullets.

In a statement Tuesday, Interior Minister Angelino Alfano described the hit as a "settling of scores" and pledged that the police reinforcements would give a "quick and concrete response to an event of unprecedented cruelty."

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