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Italy seizes missile from far-right sympathisers

16 July 2019

Special Forces of the anti-terrorist police officers inspect the air-to-air missile seized during the operation.

Two other men were detained after police found a French-made Matra missile at an airport hangar that appeared to have once belonged to the Qatar armed forces. The police said it was an air-to-air missile.

Italian police said the raid was part of a probe into Italians who fought alongside the Russian-backed insurgency in eastern Ukraine.

La Repubblica wrote that authorities claimed the suspects were trying to sell the missile for about 400,000 euros ($751,445), with Turin Police Chief Giuseppe De Matteis saying that the seizure had "few precedents for the quality of the weapons and their violent potential". "These weapons were not registered, but they were not connected to terrorism", Moscatelli said.

It is also possible that another buyer could strip down the Super 530F for parts or seek to convert it into a ground-to-air missile, though an unnamed expert told AFP it would be "extremely unsafe and risky" to perform the latter task without specialised knowledge and equipment.

More than 10,000 people have been killed since 2014 in fighting between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine.

Among other weapons uncovered were 26 guns, 20 bayonets, 306 gun parts - including silencers and rifle scopes - and more than 800 bullets of various calibres.

Police in Pavia also found the cockpit of a military plane.

The Digos law enforcement agency, which deals largely with terrorism and organised crime, led the operation from Turin with assistance from police in Forli, Milan, Novara and Varese.

In recent weeks, police have carried out several raids on far-right targets around Turin, arresting another suspect accused of advocating fascism and possessing illegal weapons. But Forza Nuevo has supported the Syrian government, and one of those arrested in the raid-Fabio Del Bergiolo, 50, who ran for the Italian Senate in 2001 as a Forza Nuova candidate-is a former customs anti-fraud inspector.

The political party Forza Nuova has denied any current connection with Del Bergiolo.

"The far right in this country trafficks weapons of war, and even missiles". "It's an incredible, very serious event".

Italy seizes missile from far-right sympathisers