ROME (Mar. 19)
Milan police have arrested a nephew of the late fascist leader Italo Balbo in connection with a series of bombings in Italy in 1969. The man is Claudio Orsi, 42, known for his past devotion to right-wing, anti-Semitic and, more recently, Palestinian causes. The arrest comes in the course of investigation into the murky series of events that culminated with the bombing of a Milan bank in Dec, 1969, with the loss of 16 lives.
Although police at first blamed anarchists for the bombing and others preceding it, and held anarchist Pietro Valpreda in jail for three years, suspicion is now swinging to the extreme right. Two radical right-wingers, Franco Freda and Giovanni Venturer have been in custody and under questioning for several months about the bank tragedy and other bombings.
Police sources said Orsi is being questioned in connection with a series of explosions set off in trains in various parts of Italy Aug. 8, 1969. Orsi was secretary general of the extreme right. Young European Movement from 1965 to 1968 when he broke away to form what he called a Nazi Maoist Party. His family’s motel at Ferrara was long a center for right-wing groups.
But more recently he had demonstrated a change of political color from far right to far left. He openly expressed sympathy for Mao Tse-tung and formed an Italy-China Association, and had also been mixed up in pro-Palestinian causes. He has contributed anti-Semitic articles to small local fascist news sheets and was detained last year in connection with a series of attacks on synagogues, but never charged with an offense.
His mother was the sister of Italo Balbo, one of the founders with Benito Mussolini of the fascist movement, a well-known aviator and later the governor of Libya.