Police in the Italian city of Turin have arrested three far-right extremists and uncovered a huge arsenal of weapons including an air-to-air missile in an anti-terrorist operation targeting Italians who fought among pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.
“During the operation, an air-to-air missile in perfect working order and used by the Qatar army was seized,” police said in a statement.
The Turin unit of Digos, the police agency that deals with cases involving organised crime and terrorism, said that they found some twenty sophisticated weapons of war, including “latest generation” automatic assault rifles, numerous ammunition and neo-Nazi propaganda.
In a statement on Monday, Turin police said one of the men arrested, Fabio Del Bergiolo, had run unsuccessfully in 2001 as a Senate candidate for the neo-fascist Forza Nuova party.
At his home in Gallarate, police found nine assault weapons, nearly 30 hunting rifles, pistols and bayonets as well as ammunition and Nazi memorabilia featuring swastikas.
A 42-year-old Swiss man and a 51-year-old Italian man were also arrested near Forli airport and an air-to-air missile was discovered in a hangar at the Rivanazzano Terme airport in the Lombardy region.
During the investigation, the police discovered that the detainees tried to sell the air-to-air missile, and sent a photo via whatsapp to a weapons expert who claimed to want to buy it on behalf of a third party.
For several weeks, anti-terrorist units in the northwest of Italy have been carrying out numerous operations against members of the far right following assaults by ultra nationalists against left wing campaigners and immigrants. All the operations had ended with the seizure of weapons of war and resulted in the arrest of Fabio Carlo D’Allio, leader of the Legio Subalpina on charges of praising fascism.