Italian police raid of fascist militants finds air-to-air missile

A neo-Nazi group in northern Italy had sent members to fight alongside Russia-backed separatists in the Donbass region of Ukraine. Apparently, the group brought some things back from their adventures—including a French-made air-to-air missile that somehow found its way from Qatar into the home of a neo-fascist extremist.

The missile and an assortment of other weapons were discovered in the latest of a series of raids by Italian federal police from the General Investigations and Special Operations Division (DIGOS).

The raids are part of an ongoing investigation into the Forza Nuova political party and Rebel Firm extremist groups that had fought in the Donbass region.

Other raids had turned up pro-Nazi and pro-fascist propaganda and relics alongside caches of knives and other illegal weapons—including brass knuckles, and a baseball bat inscribed with the words “Dux Mussolini” (Leader Mussolini) and a portrait of Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. The groups were also being investigated under Italy’s anti-fascist laws, following pro-fascist comments by Forza Nuova’s leader in Turin, Luigi Cortese. But in a raid today in the province of Pavia, south of Milan, police discovered a collection of modern automatic weapons—including nine assault rifles, a submachine gun, seven pistols, silencers, bayonets, and other military weapons.

On top of all that, there was also the missile. The Matra Super 530 F, a short-to-medium range air to air missile, was initially sold to Qatar to arm the Qatar Emiri Air Force’s Mirage 2000 (and previously, Mirage F1) fighter aircraft. The missile was found in a shipping canister during this latest raid, and it appears to be in working order—though it did not have an explosive warhead installed, according to DIGOS.

Just how a French-built Qatari missile found its way into the collection of a group of neo-fascists in the Italian Piedmont region is not clear. 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. Del Bergiolo was apparently attempting to sell the missile for 470,000 Euros to “a foreign government official,” according to police.

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