Italy: Car bomb was 'mafia message of intimidation'

Rome, 29 Jan. (AKI) - Italy's top anti-mafia prosecutor, Pietro Grasso, has described the car bomb found near the southern city of Reggio Calabria as a "message of intimidation" from the mafia. Grasso was speaking at a seminar on organised crime organised by the Rome Press Association in the Italian capital on Friday.

"Yesterday's car bomb in Reggio Calabria did not seem to be ready to explode, but was put there to send a message of intimidation: I evaluated that signal like that," he said.

He said that local mafia or 'Ndrangheta "wanted to send a message of which said 'With all the police here for the visit of the head of state, we can still successfully place arms and explosives in a car'."

Earlier on Friday Italian police arrested a man with alleged mafia links, believed to be involved in planting the two bombs and weapons in a stolen car near the southern city.

The local mafia, or 'Ndrangheta, was immediately blamed for leaving the explosives near the city's airport on Thursday in a bid to send a message of intimidation shortly before president Giorgio Napolitano was due to pass by.

Police on Friday arrested Francesco Nocera, a 45-year-old panel beater, who allegedly telephoned police to report the stolen car. He is believed to be linked to a local mafia clan and was arrested for aiding and abetting.

Napolitano on Thursday called for greater resources to fight the mafia when he visited Rosarno, site of some of the country's worst violence between residents and immigrants.

He said the region of Calabria surrounding the town was on "the front line" in the fight against the local mafia, or 'Ndrangheta.

"If the 'Ndrangheta in Calabria is blocking development, it is the main enemy of the future and denies citizens their freedom with threats, blackmail and needs," Napolitano said.

"It is clear that Calabria is on the front line in the fight against organised crime. And all state institutions must be on the front line with Calabria."


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