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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 January, 2005, 13:22 GMT
Anti-mafia raids net 46 suspects
Italian police in anti-mafia raid
Police have been cracking down on mafia across Italy
Police in Sicily have arrested 46 people suspected of helping a fugitive mafia boss.

Anti-mafia investigators in Palermo said those detained had helped Bernardo Provenzano stay in contact with the mafia during his 41 years on the run.

Some are also accused of murder, extortion and having arms and drugs.

About 1,000 police took part in the raids, which are the latest attempt to squeeze the Italian mafia, and follow dozens of arrests in Naples.

Mr Provenzano, nicknamed The Tractor, is said to have succeeded Toto Riina as the head of the Sicilian Mafia after his arrest in 1993.

Those held include Francesco Pistoia, who allegedly passed commands from Mr Provenzano to his lieutenants.

Taps reveal plot

A statement from investigators said the arrests were ordered because some of the most dangerous suspects were planning to flee, and because they continued to plan criminal activities.

Some Italian news reports say police phone taps had unearthed a plot to kill an Italian judge.

The arrests follow a crackdown on mafia activity in Naples, where violence between rival gangs has left about 100 people dead in the past year.

Last week a 45-year-old man was found decapitated and burned in his car in apparently the latest mafia-linked attack in Naples.

On Friday, Cosimo Di Lauro, son of alleged mafia godfather Paolo Di Lauro, was arrested in the city.

Further south in the Calabria region, in the "toe" of Italy, where there has been a spectacular rise in mafia activity, there have been dozens more arrests.

Mafia turf war grips Naples
24 Nov 04 |  Europe

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