Italy Ukraine politics arms probe July 16 2019 - 7:33 PM

Italy's Salvini says threats to him led to neo-nazi arms haul =(Picture+Video)= Rome, July 16, 2019 (AFP) - Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said Tuesday a death threat against him had launched the investigation that led to the seizure of a massive neo-nazi arms cache. Salvini was referring to the massive weapons haul, including an air-to-air missile, which Italian police displayed to the press on Monday. "It's not my missile and I'm happy to have been of use for finding it," he quipped while answering questions during a visit to the northern city of Genoa. The investigation had started from a death threat he had received, he added. "It was one of several death threats that I get every day and which I don't talk about," he said. "This time, it was detailed, even if you never know if you're dealing with a madman. The secret services were talking about a Ukrainian group that wanted to make an attempt on my life," he said. Turin's anti-terrorism unit followed leads to neo-nazis who had fought in Ukraine against pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country. Police surveillance led to three suspects who seemed to be trying to sell weapons and in recent weeks they had carried out a series of raids in and around the city. On Monday, officers arrested the three suspects and, searching a warehouse near the small Rivanazzano Terme airport in Pavia province, found the massive arms cache. Although experts say the French Matra Super 530F missile would have been very difficult to use, the haul also included the latest-generation automatic assault rifles, a Scorpion machine gun, pistols, daggers and bayonets. Photos released by police showed nazi memorabilia, some featuring swastikas, scattered among the weapons. Police said one of the three men arrested had already sent out photos of the missiles. Italian media reports said that his asking price had been 470,000 euros ($527,000). fcc/jj/pma

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