“We have some idea about what the seized equipment could be used for, but will not speculate,” said Turin police commissioner Giuseppe De Matteis.
By World Israel News Staff
On Monday, Italian police said they had seized weapons, including an air-to-air missile, from Italian far-right extremists, Agence Free-Presse reports.
“This is a significant seizure, with few precedents in Italy,” said Turin police commissioner Giuseppe De Matteis. “We have some idea about what the seized equipment could be used for, but will not speculate.”
The findings were part of raids sparked by a separate investigation into far-right extremist groups fighting alongside pro-Russian rebels in the Ukraine, AFP reports.
Three people were arrested, including Fabio Del Bergiolo, 50, a former candidate for the neo-fascist Forza Nuova party.
Also arrested were a Swiss, 42, and an Italian, 51. They are accused of holding and marketing the confiscated Matra Super 530 F missile that has a range of 25 kilometers (15 miles), with an explosive charge of 30 kilos.
Police reported that the missile, housed in a warehouse near the small Rivanazzano Terme airport in the Pavia province, was in “perfect working order” but did not have an explosive charge. However, it could be armed by “people specialized in the field.”
Del Bergiolo planned to sell the missile for 470,000 euros ($529,000), according to Italian media reports.
Police intercepted photographs of the attempted missile that were sent over Whatsapp messages by Del Bergiolo in order to find a buyer.
AFP reports that police also found in Del Bergiolo’s home neo-Nazi propaganda, Hitler memorabilia, and a stash of weapons including a Scorpion machine gun, 306 firearm parts and 20 bayonets.
Additionally, a host of sophisticated weapons, including automatic assault rifles and rocket launchers were confiscated.
The operation was led by the Digos law enforcement agency that deals largely with terrorism and organized crime. The agency received assistance from police in Forli, Milan, Novara and Varese.
Counter-terrorism official Eugenio Spina said, “For now, nothing leads us to suspect [an active plot to use the weapons].”
Italy’s far-right interior minister Matteo Salvini has yet to make a public statement on the matter. However, the country’s center-left Democratic Party urged the populist government to increase their efforts to fight right-wing extremists.
“The far right in this country traffics weapons of war, and even missiles. It’s an incredible, very serious event,” said Maurizio Martina, the former head of the Democratic Party, according to AFP.