ROME (JTA) – Italian Jewish leaders praised authorities for breaking up a right-wing extremist network that appeared to have been planning terror attacks around the country.
Renzo Gattegna, president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCEI) called this week’s operation “a demonstration of the solidity of our institutions in confronting those who intend to threaten the constitutional order of our country and the democratic values on which it is based.” The action, he said, “made it possible to stop a movement that wanted to make its banner racist and anti-Semitic hatred and to undermine the stability of our country.”
Coordinated by judicial authorities in the central Italian city of L’Aquila, forces of the paramilitary Special Operations Police (ROS) arrested 14 people in several regions of the country. They were accused of planning “violent actions against institutional objectives.” According to police reports quoted in the Italian media, targets included tax offices, magistrates and police, with the aim of “destabilizing public order.”
The ROS commander told a news conference that suspects used social media, in particular Facebook, to spread subversive propaganda, incite “racial hatred” and recruit supporters. Riccardo Pacifici, the president of the Rome Jewish Community, said the arrests demonstrated “the high level to which our institutions guard against any attempt of the rebirth of groups that are inspired by anti-democratic ideologies and that incite discrimination and violence for racial, ethnic, national or religious motives.”