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Right-wing extremists arrested for planning 'war'

Group 'wanted to attack Rome Jews, mayor, other targets'

14 December, 10:45
Right-wing extremists arrested for planning 'war' (ANSA) - Rome, December 14 - Five members of a Rome-based far-right extremist group were arrested and 16 placed under investigation Wednesday on suspicion of planning attacks against Rome's Jewish community and other targets.

The group, Militia, had been planning a "revolutionary war", police said.

The five members of Militia, which has been convicted of vandalised public buildings in the past, would be charged with criminal conspiracy, spreading racial and ethnic hatred, defacing property and threatening institutions, police said. The extremist group had issued threats against the head of Rome's Jewish community, Riccardo Pacifici, Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanni, parliamentary speakers Renato Schifani and Gianfranco Fini, former US president George Bush and Romanian nationals, police said.

"A series of violent actions" had been planned against these targets, they said, including a bomb attack on Pacifici allegedly planned by two of those arrested.

The group used a Rome gym, Palestra Popolare Primo Carnera, to recruit new members and spread Fascist propaganda through a bi-monthly magazine called Insurrection, police said.

They also pursued goals of stoking xenophobic fears and promoting the use of violence by leafletting in public and using Skype and other Internet channels to liaise with other groups such as Avanguardia Lazio.

As well as defacing buildings and leafletting, the group is also accused of receiving stolen goods to finance its operations.

These alleged crimes took place over a three-year period, between September 2008 and September 2011, police said. Wednesday's police operation was the second against Militia in 18 months.

In May 2010 police raided offices, discos and gyms used by the group, scotching plans to hold a 'national rally' which 87 people from around Italy were expected to attend.

Four Militia members were placed under investigation for threatening Pacifici and vandalising a Rome monument commemorating victims of the Nazis, as well as daubing slogans against Alemanno including one that called him a "traitor" for attending events marking the WWII Resistance.

Far-right literature was confiscated in the raids as well as machetes, baseball bats and clubs.

At the time, police said Militia was planning to expand to northern Italy and link up with similar organisations in northern Europe.

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