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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 November 2006, 08:21 GMT
Seven held over Naples violence
Italian troops in Afghanistan
Italian troops could be sent to protect Naples city centre
Police in the Italian city of Naples have arrested seven suspected members of the local mafia, the Camorra, amid an upsurge in violent crime.

Seven people have been murdered in the city in the space of five days.

Italy's Justice Minister, Clemente Mastella, has said he is considering sending in troops to protect the city.

A security services report says that blood-letting between Camorra clans who control some of the run-down suburbs could spill over into the city centre.

Correspondents say the number of people killed or wounded in the city in recent weeks is higher than usual.

Three people were killed on Tuesday, taking the death toll over five days to seven.

Some Neapolitans have been taking the law into their own hands. Last week a tobacconist shot dead a robber.

The authorities are also worried about the effect on tourism - last month a Canadian was hit by a stray bullet while strolling in one of the city's squares.

'Deadly cancer'

Mr Mastella said an army deployment in Naples would not involve soldiers going on sensitive missions.

"Before this was a taboo for me, but now I am open to discussing it," he said.

"There is a need to tackle the sense of insecurity and fear among many sections of the population."

The presence of troops would allow police to concentrate on fighting violent crime, La Repubblica newspaper quoted Mr Mastella as saying.

On Monday, the governor of Naples' Campania region, Antonio Bassolino, urged tough action against the "deadly cancer of the Camorra".

Soldiers were deployed in Sicily in 1992 to restore order following the murder of two prominent anti-mafia prosecutors.

However, the regional government leader in Naples, Antonio Bassolino, is reported to have requested extra police rather than troops.

Italian police investigate a mafia related crime

'Mafia' man's extradition fight
10 Oct 06 |  London
'Mafia financier' held by Spain
28 Dec 05 |  Europe
Mafia turf war grips Naples
24 Nov 04 |  Europe

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