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ROME – Counter-terrorism police in Italy say they dismantled a far-right group allegedly planning to bomb a NATO base.
Carabinieri seized photographs of Hitler, swastikas and a book with Jewish surnames on Monday during coordinated raids on the homes of 12 suspected members of the Roman Aryan Order, a Nazi-inspired white racist group. One of the defendants was chosen as the winner of an online beauty pageant by Miss Hitler in 2019 and called herself Miss Eva Braun.
The investigation began in 2019 as part of a broader investigation into white supremacy and far-right movements. Police said in a statement that the group posted “racist, discriminatory, Nazi-inspired, anti-Semitic and Holocaust-denying content, videos and images on social media.”
A specialized web police investigation team focused on sharing extremist material on Facebook pages and communities on the Russian social media site VK, where group members allegedly incited one another to engage in violent acts against Jewish people and immigrants.
Investigators said the police decided to strike after accessing a WhatsApp group called the Judenfrei-Liga – “free of Jews“Is a term Nazis used to describe areas” cleared “of Jews during the Holocaust – where members allegedly shared instructions on how to make homemade explosives as part of a plot against a NATO base.
A judge appointed 12 people – who were charged Incitement to racial and religious hatred – report to the police station weekly until it is decided whether you will be officially charged.
Politicians and civil society groups welcomed the crackdown on the extremist group. Ruth Dureghelo, President of the Jewish Community in Rome, said the operation “shows that online anti-Semitism is often organized methodically and is the prelude to more serious violence … We should think about the very precise strategy of the Nazi fascists and” Holocaust deniers, flooding social networks with racist and anti-Semitic content in order to create a climate for physical attacks. “
Matteo Perego, MP for Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right party Forza Italia, called for the implementation of the parliamentary inquiry into terrorism and extremism that is currently being discussed by the legislature. He said: “We want to draw political attention to the new orbit of the extreme right, which, along with jihadism, poses a serious threat to the country.”