Ex-militant killed in Rome security van shoot-out

A former far-left militant was killed in central Rome on Friday in a shoot-out with private security guards when he and two others attempted to rob a security van, Italian media reported.

The gunfire sparked panic in a busy area of the centre close to Santa Maria Maggiore, a major basilica popular with visiting pilgrims.

One security guard, who was carrying a bag with 100,000 euros ($130,000) from a bank that the robbers tried to steal, was injured, reports said.

The man killed was named by police as Giorgio Frau, who was reported by Italian media as having been a member of several militant groups including the Red Brigades during the 1970s and 1980s.

Police arrested Frau's two alleged accomplices.

Frau was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison in 2004 for illegal possession of firearms, including a Kalashnikov assault rifle and seven handguns.