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Italian Police Seized An Air-To-Air Missile During An Investigation Into Far-Right Groups

The missile, which lacked an explosive charge but was in full working order, was found among a huge cache of weapons and Nazi material, police said.

Posted on July 16, 2019, at 9:02 a.m. ET

Tino Romano / AP

Counterterrorism police in northern Italy on Monday seized a huge cache of weapons, including an air-to-air missile, following an investigation into far-right extremist groups.

Handout / Reuters

Police in Italy released pictures of the weapons they seized.

The missile was found along with a range of assault rifles, shotguns, pistols, bayonets, many weapon parts, and almost a thousand cartridges of ammunition, police said in a statement. Nazi signs and other far-right material were also recovered.

#Digos Torino con Milano, Varese, Pavia, Novara e Forlì coordinate da Polizia Prevenzione #Ucigos hanno sequestrato un arsenale di armi da guerra nel Nord Italia a soggetti dell'estrema destra oltranzista che in passato hanno preso parte a conflitto nella regione ucraina Donbass

Police in Turin led the raids after a yearlong investigation into Italians with extreme ideologies who took part in the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine.

More than 10,000 people have died in fighting since Russian-backed separatists launched an insurgency in the Donbass region of Ukraine in April 2014, according to the United Nations.

The air-to-air missile seized is French-made and appears to have belonged to the Qatari armed forces, police said.

Handout / Reuters

Police added that the missile was in working order but lacked an explosive charge.

Three people — two Italians and one Swiss national — were arrested, police said in a statement. They have been named in Italian media as men in their 40s and 50s.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.