Six Italian men were shot dead in the northwestern German city of Duisburg early on Wednesday in an execution-style killing apparently linked to a mafia turf war.
The shootings took place close to an Italian restaurant called Da Bruno, a police spokesman said. The victims, all shot in the head, were aged between 16 and 39.
Italian police said the six were from the southern region of Calabria, home to the N'Drangheta organized crime group.
A senior police source in Reggio Calabria said the killings appeared to be linked to a long-running feud between two mafia clans fighting a turf war in the town of San Luca. German police said their investigation was "leading in that direction."
The victims belonged to one clan, the Italian police source said. Italian media said the feud between the two clans had led to the deaths of 11 people in the past eight months.
"This score-settling is unprecedented, also because it happened in a foreign country," ANSA news agency quoted Luigi De Sena, deputy police chief in Reggio Calabria, as saying.
"People from Calabria have a very strong presence in Germany but so far they had kept a low profile, trying not to attract attention."
Police found the six in, or lying next to, two vehicles near the city's train station after a passer-by heard shots at about 2:30 a.m. (8:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday). Five were already dead and the sixth died on the way to hospital.
German television showed pictures of a distraught middle-aged woman arriving at the scene shouting "Sebastiano!"
Police said they were looking at close-circuit television footage from a camera installed at the office block.
The cars, one a VW Golf and the other a small Opel delivery van, were registered in German towns.
The shootings have stunned Germany, where gang crime on this scale is rare. Police will hold a news conference at 1200 GMT (8:00 a.m. EDT).
Italians are Germany's second biggest immigrant group after Turks. Many from the poor south came to Germany as "guest workers" after World War Two and helped fuel the country's economic boom. About 540,000 Italians live here now.
At the end of 2006, about 3,500 Italians lived in Duisburg, a run-down city in Germany's industrial heartland, the Ruhr, that has been hit by high levels of unemployment.
The N'Drangheta has outgrown its more famous Sicilian counterpart, the Cosa Nostra, thanks to clan loyalties ensured by blood relationships and arranged marriages.
Last Mod: 15 Ağustos 2007, 19:23