By Ilaria Polleschi
MILAN (Reuters) - An Italian anarchist group claimed responsibility for shooting and wounding the head of a nuclear engineering group earlier this week and said it would go after its "murderous octopus" parent company, a letter published on Friday said.
In the letter, which Corriere della Sera published on its website, a group calling itself the Olga Nucleus of the Informal Anarchist Federation International Revolutionary Front said it had attacked the head of Ansaldo Nucleare to punish "one of the many sorcerers of the atomic industry".
The group said it planned to target Italian aerospace and defense giant Finmeccanica, the nuclear unit's parent company and Italy's second-biggest industrial group, with a string of actions aimed at striking what they called a "murderous octopus".
"Finmeccanica means death and exploitation," the letter said, noting that the company provides supplies for U.S. police forces.
An investigative source told Reuters that police believed the claim to be genuine.
Ansaldo Nucleare Chief Executive Roberto Adinolfi, 53, was shot in the leg by two masked gunmen in Genoa on Monday, triggering fears of a revival of the violent far-left Red Brigades movement of the 1970s and 1980s.
The company operates mainly abroad as Italy has rejected nuclear power in two national referendums.
Separately on Friday, leaflets with the words "Red Brigades" and the five-pointed star logo of the Italian Marxist-Leninist group were plastered on the walls of several official buildings in Legnano, about 30 km (20 miles) northwest of downtown Milan, the Milan police said on Friday.
The leaflets, for which no one has yet claimed responsibility, were placed on the facades of the Italian tax agency, the social security office and a local company.
Austerity measures adopted by the government of Prime Minister Mario Monti to control Italy's public debt have caused mounting resentment, although protests generally have been peaceful and there have been no real signs of organized political violence.
(Reporting By Ilaria Polleschi and Michel Rose, Additional reporting by Claudia Cristoferi; Writing by James Mackenzie and Michel Rose; Editing by Michael Roddy)