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Italy probes ‘parallel police’


Ital­ian police have launched a big inquiry into a “par­al­lel” intel­li­gence agency, say Ital­ian news reports.

The Depart­ment of Anti-ter­ror­ism Strate­gic Stud­ies (DSSA) was report­ed­ly cre­at­ed after the 2004 Madrid bomb­ings to com­bat Islam­ic extrem­ism.

Genoa-based inves­ti­ga­tors car­ry­ing out a probe into the DSSA have arrest­ed two peo­ple and placed more than two dozen oth­ers under inves­ti­ga­tion.

Anti-ter­ror squads have also car­ried out raids in nine Ital­ian regions.

‘Reg­u­lar employ­ees’

Many of those under inves­ti­ga­tion are said to be employed by reg­u­lar law-enforce­ment bod­ies. Pros­e­cu­tors believe that DSSA “employ­ees” were some­times using offi­cial police badges and oth­er equip­ment to car­ry out their own inves­ti­ga­tions.

The alleged par­al­lel force is also accused of ille­gal­ly using the Inte­ri­or Min­istry data­base for its own pur­pos­es.

The DSSA oper­at­ed its own web­site, which was dis­abled after the arrests were report­ed on Fri­day morn­ing.

Reports say the site was avail­able in four lan­guages — Ital­ian, Eng­lish, French and Span­ish — and pro­filed ter­ror organ­i­sa­tions as well as urg­ing the pub­lic to come for­ward with infor­ma­tion.

Kid­nap inquiry

Ital­ian state radio Rai lat­er report­ed that the two arrest­ed men may have had links with Glad­io, the Ital­ian branch of a secret para­mil­i­tary net­work set up in post-war Europe with the back­ing of the CIA.

There are also reports of a pos­si­ble con­nec­tion with a far-right polit­i­cal group.

The inves­ti­ga­tion that uncov­ered the alleged par­al­lel struc­ture is an off­spring of a pre­vi­ous inquiry into the death of Fab­rizio Quat­troc­chi, one of four Ital­ians kid­napped in Iraq in April 2004.

Mr Quat­troc­chi was shot dead by the abduc­tors, while his col­leagues were even­tu­al­ly released.


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