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Man who sent pig heads to Rome synagogue 'found'

Roman, 29, 'linked to far-right Forza Nuova party'

31 January, 14:29
Man who sent pig heads to Rome synagogue 'found' (ANSA) - Rome, January 31 - A man who allegedly sent pigs' heads to Jewish sites across Rome ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day on Monday has been identified, police said Friday. The 29-year-old Roman, reportedly linked in the past to far-right party Forza Nuova, is suspected of sending the heads to Rome's Synagogue, the Israeli embassy and a museum hosting a Jewish exhibition in what was dubbed a hate crime.

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano called the act "a miserable provocation".

The 'day of memory' for six million Jews who died in Nazi death camps in the Second World War was also marred by anti-Semitic slurs painted around the Italian capital.

Two men have been charged with instigating racial hatred by painting such phrases as "Holocaust lies" on public buildings.

The delivery of the pig heads outraged many in the Jewish community and some said it was an insult to all Italians.

"It's a hideous act, an enormous offence that I do not accept," said Italian Auschwitz survivor Sami Modiano.

"I'm a Jew but also Italian. What has happened offends all Italian people".

The Israeli foreign minister's office told ANSA the act was "intolerable and brutal".

Police quickly caught two men, ages 33 and 47, who were spray-painting anti-Semitic slurs in a main square in Rome.

They said that one belonged to an extreme right-wing movement Militia, and the other had been placed under investigation during a previous probe into the neo-Nazi website Stormfront.

Meanwhile, in Milan vandals painted a red swastika on to a Jewish school that dates from the 19th century, authorities said Monday.

Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino expressed her "firm condemnation of the reprehensible acts of anti-Semitism" while Premier Enrico Letta emphasized the importance of preserving the lessons of the Holocaust to educate future generations.

About 2,000 of the 8,500 Italian Jews who died at Auschwitz came from Rome, many of them rounded up in Rome's ghetto on October 16, 1943.