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CRIME

Italian arrested for explosives possession after FBI tip-off

Italian police have arrested a 24-year-old man for possession of explosive materials, following a tip-off from the USA's FBI.

Italian arrested for explosives possession after FBI tip-off
File photo showing Italian police carrying out raids, in the Roman suburb of Ostia. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

Police said on Thursday that the man was arrested “for possession of material which could be used for making explosives”.

The arrest followed a police search of the man's apartment in Viterbo, a city of around 70,000 people in the central Lazio region, where they found material used to create a pipe bomb.

This included powder, glue, and small coins, and police also found a rifle, two air pistols and other weapons including a knuckle-duster.

READ ALSO: A Facebook 'like' can constitute apology for terrorism, top Italian court rules

He was arrested and charged on Monday, but police only made a public statement about the arrest on Thursday after a judge extended the detention order. 

The investigation was prompted by the American intelligence and security service, which noted posts on the Italian's social media pages praising New York terror suspect Sayfullo Saipov..

Saipov is accused of carrying out a truck attack in the US city on October 31st last year, in which eight people were killed. He was arrested immediately after the attack and told investigators he was inspired by propaganda from the terror group Isis, though he pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and terrorism.

Before the FBI tip-off, the Viterbo man, reportedly of Latvian origin, was not known to police or security services for extremist views.

READ ALSO: How Italy keeps track of 80 terrorism alerts each day

CRIME

New York returns millions worth of stolen art to Italy

Prosecutors in New York on Tuesday returned dozens of antiquities stolen from Italy and valued at around $19 million, some of which were found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

New York returns millions worth of stolen art to Italy

“These 58 pieces represent thousands of years of rich history, yet traffickers throughout Italy utilized looters to steal these items and to line their own pockets,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, noting that it was the third such repatriation in nine months.

“For far too long, they have sat in museums, homes, and galleries that had no rightful claim to their ownership,” he said at a ceremony attended by Italian diplomats and law enforcement officials.

The stolen items had been sold to Michael Steinhardt, one of the world’s leading collectors of ancient art, the DA’s office said, adding that he had been slapped with a “first-of-its-kind lifetime ban on acquiring antiquities.”

READ ALSO

Among the recovered treasures, which in some cases were sold to “unwitting collectors and museums,” were a marble head of the Greek goddess Athena from 200 B.C.E. and a drinking cup dating back to 470 B.C.E, officials said.

The pieces were stolen at the behest of four men who “all led highly lucrative criminal enterprises – often in competition with one another – where they would use local looters to raid archaeological sites throughout Italy, many of which were insufficiently guarded,” the DA’s office said.

One of them, Pasquale Camera, was “a regional crime boss who organized thefts from museums and churches as early as the 1960s. He then began purchasing stolen artifacts from local looters and sold them to antiquities dealers,” it added.

It said that this year alone, the DA’s office has “returned nearly 300 antiquities valued at over $66 million to 12 countries.”

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