Italian police bust armed neo-Nazi group

Italian police bust armed neo-Nazi group

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Italian police cracked open an armed neo-Nazi group Thursday which they said had been forging contacts with extremists elsewhere in Europe.

Officers searching the homes of 19 suspects throughout the country, from Milan to Sicily, seized automatic weapons, rifles, crossbows, swords, knives, Nazi flags and books on dictators Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini, police said.

Those targeted belonged to the fledgling National Italian Socialist Workers' Party, which has an openly anti-Semitic and xenophobic program and was in contact with Britain's Neo-Nazi Combat 18 and Portugal's far-right New Social Order. 

The group used a closed chat called "Militia" dedicated to training the militants.

The head trainer was a member of the powerful Calabrian mafia 'Ndrangheta, who had collaborated with police on previous investigations and was a local leader in Liguria of the small, far-right Forza Nuova party, police said.