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CRIME

Italy and Austria smash mafia arms trafficking ring

Italy and Austria have broken up an international arms trafficking ring that supplied the Camorra organised crime group with 800 guns including "weapons of war."

Italy and Austria smash mafia arms trafficking ring
Guns seized by Italian antimafia police in a crackdown on the Camorra. File photo: Nunzio Mari/AFP

Authorities arrested 22 people, including a father and son team of Austrian gunsmiths, who illegally supplied the Naples-based syndicate with weapons that had their serial numbers removed, officials said on Tuesday.

“This clan armed itself to start a war with other clans,” Naples prosecutor Ivana Fulco told a news conference at the EU judicial agency Eurojust, in The Hague.

The year-long Italian investigation involved the arrests of several Camorra couriers, with the trail eventually leading to the two Austrian gunsmiths, she said.

The Austrians are known to have sold more than 800 new pistols to the Italian mafia group as well as 50 Kalashnikov assault rifles and 10 'Scorpion' submachine guns, worth a total of 500,000 euros.

Nearly 100 further weapons and a “huge” quantity of ammunition were found hidden in several premises in Austria, Eurojust said.

“Some of these are weapons of war,” said Filippo Spiezia, the national member for Italy at Eurojust.
One of the arrests was in France, where the Camorra network was also trying to buy weapons, prosecutor Fulco said.

The Camorra is one of Italy's three main organised crime groups, along with Sicily's Cosa Nostra, commonly known as the mafia, and the 'Ndrangheta, centred in the Calabria region.

In December Eurojust announced the arrest of around 90 suspected 'Ndrangheta mobsters in six countries in Europe and South America.

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BOLOGNA

Italy’s president calls for ‘full truth’ on anniversary of Bologna bombing

President Sergio Mattarella said on Tuesday it was the state's duty to shed more light on the 1980 bombing of Bologna's train station, on the 42nd anniversary of the attack that killed 85 people and injured 200.

Italy's president calls for 'full truth' on anniversary of Bologna bombing

On August 2nd 1980, a bomb exploded in the railway station’s waiting room, causing devastation on an unprecedented scale.

Five members of terrorist groups were later convicted in relation to the bombing, the worst episode in Italy’s ‘Years of Lead’ period of political violence in the 1970s and 80s.

Most recently, in 2020, a former member of the far-right Armed Revolutionary Nucleus (NAR) was sentenced to life imprisonment for providing logistical support to those who carried out the attack.

But suspicions remain of cover-ups and the involvement of “deviant elements” within the nation’s security services, reported Italian news agency Ansa.

READ ALSO: Bologna massacre: 40 years on, questions remain over Italy’s deadliest postwar terror attack

“The bomb that killed people who happened to be at the station on that morning 42 years ago still reverberates with violence in the depths of the country’s conscience,” Mattarella said in a speech marking the anniversary on Tuesday.

“It was the act of cowardly men of unequalled inhumanity, one of the most terrible of the history of the Italian Republic.

A train compartment at Bologna station pictured following the 1980 bombing attributed to the neo-fascist terrorist organization Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari.

“It was a terrorist attack that sought to destabilise democratic institutions and sow fear, hitting ordinary citizens going about their everyday tasks.

“On the day of the anniversary our thoughts go, above all, to the relatives forced to suffer the greatest pain.

“The neo-fascist nature of the massacre has been established in court and further steps have been made to unveil the cover-ups and those who ordered the attack in order to comply with the Republic’s duty to seek the full truth”.

The bombing remains Western Europe’s fourth deadliest postwar terror attack, and one of the most devastating in Italy’s history.

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