Italy foils neo-fascist Christmas attacks plot, arrests 14

Demonstrators hold a banner, reading "Mafiosi, politicians, fascists, speculators hands off the city", during a rally on Dec 13, 2014 following the recent Rome anti-mafia sweep in downtown Rome. -- PHOTO: AFP
Demonstrators hold a banner, reading "Mafiosi, politicians, fascists, speculators hands off the city", during a rally on Dec 13, 2014 following the recent Rome anti-mafia sweep in downtown Rome. -- PHOTO: AFP

ROME (AFP) - Italian police arrested 14 neo-fascists and placed 44 others under investigation on Monday after uncovering a plot to assassinate politicians and attack police stations over the Christmas period.

Police swooped after wiretaps revealed the gang, an offshoot of the banned far right organisation Ordine Nuovo, had begun stockpiling arms and planned to carry out attacks over the holiday period.

Italy's Repubblica daily said the suspects had discussed killing politicians, "10, 11 at a time...", as well as blowing up the Equitalia tax collection agency and launching attacks on police stations.

Head investigator Mario Parente told journalists that the group, which for the past two years had been infiltrated by an undercover policeman, had also discussed attacking the state railway.

Members of the gang had been on the hunt for arms and had planned to raid the home of a weapons collector, Repubblica said.

The Ordine Nuovo organisation, founded in 1956 in a bid to reform the Fascist party, was accused of being behind several bombings in the early 1970s. It was officially dissolved by the Italian government in 1973.