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Gunmen threaten Star footballer Lionel Messi and shoot up family-owned supermarket

Gunmen threatened football superstar Lionel Messi in a written message left when they opened fire at a supermarket owned by his in-laws in Argentina, police said.

Nobody was injured in the attack on Thursday, and it was unclear why assailants would target Messi or the Unico supermarket in the country’s third-largest city of Rosario, owned by the family of his wife, Antonella Roccuzzo.

The city’s mayor, Pablo Javkin, went to the supermarket and lashed out at federal authorities over what he called their failure to curb a surge in drug-related violence in Rosario, located about 300km (190 miles) northwest of the capital of Buenos Aires.

Police said two men on a motorcycle fired at least a dozen shots into a Unico branch in the early hours, leaving a message on cardboard that read, “Messi, we’re waiting for you. Javkin is also a drug trafficker, so he won’t take care of you.”

In Rosario, prosecutor Federico Rebola said the investigation was “preliminary” and that officials were reviewing security camera footage. 

This was the first time Messi’s in-laws had received a threat of this nature, he continued. Celia Arena, the Justice Minister for Santa Fe province, where Rosario is located, described the assault as “terrorism” carried out by a “mafia” group to intimidate the general public. 

“The aim is to deliberately cause terror in the population and discourage those of us who are fighting against criminal violence, knowing that it will be an event of global significance,” Arena wrote in a social media post. 

Javkin, a centre-left politician in opposition to the ruling Peronist coalition, appeared to throw suspicion of complicity for the attack on both criminal gangs and federal security officials. 

“I doubt everyone, even those who are supposed to protect us,” Javkin said in an interview with a local radio station. 

He said that he had recently had very strong discussions with members of the federal security forces over the past couple of weeks demanding that they crack down on the city’s crime. 


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