ROME — Italian police launched a widespread operation against the neo-Nazi Internet hate organization Stormfront.
On Thursday, police searched the homes of 35 people aged 17-51 in more than 20 towns and cities up and down the Italian peninsula on suspicion of spreading ideas on the Internet “based on racial and ethnic hatred and incitement to commit acts of discrimination and violence for racist and ethnic reasons.”
Police also uncovered weapons and a swastika flag in the home of a man in Mantova, and they confiscated at least one anti-Semitic video, according to reports.
“This is a dangerous organization under an ideological profile that finds its roots in a historical period that apparently seems distant,” prosecutor Giancarlo Capaldo told a news conference. “We must deal with the ideological extremism that is stirring in Europe.”
Renzo Gattegna, president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, issued a statement expressing “warm thanks” to the forces of order for the “massive” crackdown.
Thursday’s operation came one year after another widespread operation against Stormfront in which police blocked the Italian version of the group’s website and arrested four people on charges of inciting racial and ethnic hatred and anti-Semitism. They also raided the homes of 17 others, confiscating fascist and neo-Nazi material.