Three die in shootout between Mafia wives

 

A shootout involving wives and other female relatives of feuding Mafia bosses has left three women dead and five other people wounded in Italy.

The women began their gun battle after a car chase in Lauro, near Naples, say police.

One of the two cars involved in the shootout were women of the Cava family, which belongs to the Camorra crime syndicate - the Neapolitan version of the Mafia.

In the other one was Mr Salvatore Graziano, the reputed boss of a rival clan, with three female relatives.

Investigators say it appears the Graziano family opened fire first, possibly with the help of other people in a third car.

Two women in the car carrying the Cavas - the wife of one family boss and the sister of another one - died at the scene, apparently shot several times in the face. A 16-year-old girl died at the hospital later.

The four other women aboard the two cars were also injured, and so was Mr Graziano.

The two families have been fighting for the control of the territory for about three decades.

Women have traditionally kept a low-profile in Italian organised crime activities, although investigators say mobsters' wives, sisters and mothers have long provided logistical support, such as delivering messages in and out of prisons where their men are jailed.

"Never before had women pointed guns at each other and never before had they played leading roles in a shootout," reports Milan newspaper Corriere della Sera.