MILAN - Italy is considering using the army to protect the defense conglomerate Finmeccanica and the tax collection agency Equitalia, the targets of a series of attacks that are raising concerns about political violence, the interior minister said.

Although protests against Italy's austerity program have been largely peaceful, last week a well-known anarchist group claimed responsibility for an attack in which a Finmeccanica executive was shot in the leg.

"Investigators tell me this is a credible claim. This forces us to raise our guard to avoid an escalation that, sadly, is one possible scenario. This is what we are going to do in the next days," Interior Minister Annamaria Cancellieri told the daily La Repubblica in an interview.

She said using the army to defend potential targets was "a possible solution."

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