By Laura Haddock Atkinson / Business Insider / New York Times / Special for Business InsiderThe tour operators of Italian restaurants and bars are warning of a “sadism and dangerous” spate of violent attacks on customers after some patrons had their phones confiscated and a group of armed men set fire to an Italian restaurant in Sardinia.
The restaurant in the coastal town of L’Osservatore Romano, near the southern Italian island of Sardinia, was set alight in a series of arson attacks, with one of the attackers firing a rifle into the flames.
The attack was reported to police and the attackers were later arrested, according to a statement from the tour operators.
“The incidents of violent acts by members of a criminal group are extremely worrying and are a new element of risk for our guests and our customers,” the statement said.
“They have a history of causing harm and this is the result of a violent group of individuals.
We condemn these acts.”
The group of men was reportedly armed with Kalashnikov rifles and pistols, with police confirming they had entered the restaurant through a back door and were acting as if they were carrying out a robbery.
The group had left the restaurant shortly before midnight on Sunday and then began throwing Molotov cocktails and bottles at patrons who were sitting inside.
The fire spread to nearby shops and restaurants and was eventually extinguished, police said.
Security measures have been put in place at the restaurant, which was not immediately known to have suffered damage.
Tour operators and police are investigating what caused the fire, and the number of attacks has increased.