Far Right Fanatics caught with Air-to-Air MISSILE in Italy
In a raid by police in northern Italy against neo-Nazis, a huge cache of dangerous weapons, including a Scorpion machine gun, and an air-to-air MISSILE were found.
Strap yourself in for this one. Police have just raided the home of far right extremists in northern Italy, seizing a cache of weapons including machine guns, rocket launchers - and an air-to-air, combat ready missile.
The raid saw the arrest of three people, including Fabio Del Bergiolo, 50, a former candidate for the neo-fascist party Forza Nuova.
The 245kg Matra missile was described by police as "an air-to-air missile in perfect working order and used by the Qatari army".
It is 3.54 metres long, and was made in France. Del Bergiolo was apparently hoping to sell it for 470,000 euros ($529,000), according to the Italian press.
Luckily the missile was found without explosive charge, but was "re-armable by people specialised in the field" according to police.
They also found fully automatic assault rifles of the "latest generation".
"This is a significant seizure, with few precedents in Italy," Turin police commissioner Giuseppe De Matteis said.
"For now, nothing leads us to suspect" the arrested extremists were planning to actively use the weapons in a plot.
The other men arrested were a 42 year old Swiss and a 51 year old Italian. They were accused of holding and marketing the missile, which itself was found in a warehouse near the small airport Rivanazzano Terme in the Pavia province.
With a range of 25km (15 miles), the Mantra Super 530 F is a French built missile, and is a modernisation of the R530 missile that went into service in 1980.
An explosives expert contacted by AFP, who asked to remain anonymous, said of the weapon that it would be "extremely dangerous and risky to turn it into a missile to fire from the ground, unless you have good engineers and equipment", and that similarly because of its age that it's "extremely unlikely that it can be used, but its use can be changed".
The police raids were part of a probe into Italian extremists who are known to have joined pro-Russian rebels fighting in the Ukraine.
Police had intercepted messages sent by Del Bergiolo after he had sent pictures of the missile through WhatsApp, as part of organising its sale.
After putting him under surveillance, they raided his home and found the cache of weapons which included 306 firearm parts and 20 bayonets.
He also had a collection of Nazi-era street signs, including one that read "Adolf-Hitler Platz".
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