An unemployed man opened fire on policemen outside Italian government headquarters in Rome on Sunday just as the coalition Cabinet was being sworn in.

Two policemen and a passerby were wounded in the shooting, which occurred about a kilometre away from the presidential palace where Prime Minister Enrico Letta and his Ministers were taking the oath of office.

“The tragic and criminal act this morning was carried out by an unemployed 49-year-old man who showed signs of wanting to commit suicide”, new Interior Minister Angelo Alfano told journalists, adding it was an “isolated incident”.

Witnesses said a man in a suit and tie shot at the policemen at close range, off Rome’s main shopping street which was packed with tourists at the time. A female passerby was lightly injured.

Mr. Letta and his 21 Ministers took the oath at a ceremony led by President Giorgio Napolitano, who appointed him after the centre-left won February elections but without the majority needed to govern.

One of the EU’s youngest Prime Ministers, Mr. Letta (46) is expected to unveil his programme in a parliamentary session on Monday.— AFP