Police raids across Italy have exposed alleged efforts by ultranationalist militants to form a modern-day Nazi Party, making over a dozen arrests and uncovering a cache of military-grade firearms, explosives, and Nazi memorabilia.
The hardline activists sought to create an “openly pro-Nazi, xenophobic, anti-Semitic group” which they would dub the “Italian National Socialist Workers’ Party,” according to prosecutors based in Sicily, who have led the two-year investigation, codenamed “Black Shadows.” Police in 16 towns in Sicily and Italy took part in the probe.
The weapons captured in the raids include military-style and hunting rifles, pistols, knives and even a crossbow. Police did not specify what type of explosives were found.
Allegedly heading up the mysterious organization is a 50-year-old woman living in the city of Padua – a public employee – who police said went by the moniker of “Hitler’s Sergeant Major.” A search of her home found anti-Semitic propaganda literature and items bearing swastikas.
A 26-year-old Sicilian woman was also among the 19 suspects taken into custody. She reportedly spoke at a right-wing conference in Portugal last August about how to unify “National Socialist movements” across Europe, and once won an online “Miss Hitler” beauty contest.
For some time, a former senior operator in the Calabrian mafia sect known as “’Ndrangheta” helped to train the militant group, but has since turned informant and helped police investigate and take down the organization.
In addition to the arsenal of weapons, searches of the suspects’ homes also yielded political pamphlets denouncing left-leaning MPs, including Emanuele Fiano, a high-profile figure in Italy’s Jewish community and the son of a Holocaust survivor.
The group also had ties with far-right factions elsewhere in Europe, including Combat 18, a neo-Nazi militia in the UK, as well as Portugal’s New Social Order.
In July, another police operation against a similar underground Nazi group found links to ultranationalists fighting in Ukraine, uncovering a sizable stockpile of weapons, including a French-made air-to-air missile. It is unclear whether the two groups are related in any way.
Source: RT NEWS