Police in Tuscany averted a far-right extremists attack against the Muslim community in Siena on Tuesday.
The Italian police detained 12 people in and around Siena and Florence in connection to a planned to attack against a mosque at Colle Val d’Elsa near Siena by blowing up a gas pipe. Two of them were formally arrested and charged, namely Andrea Chesi, 60, a bank worker, and his son Yuri, aged 22.
During raids at Sovicille, Poggibonsi, and the centre of Siena, police seized weapons and explosives. A bomb squad was called in. The group cannot be linked to known far-right groups.
The suspects under investigation will be charged with possession of weapons with the aim of setting up an association with subversive ends.
The men had been under surveillance for some time.
One of the men is heard in a wiretap referring explicitly to the plan, namely to “… blow up the gas thingy so that the whole lot would have been blown up.”
According to the police, the group was composed of people “of a certain age,” without a criminal record, who had fascist and racist ideological motives, as indicated by online activity. One of them, aged 60, posted photos of himself wearing a uniform with SS insignia, another holding a rocket launcher, and another on Benito Mussolini’s execution site making a sign that he is shooting a sign belonging to partisan association ANPI.
The group apparently did not proceed with the attack as they feared arrests.
The investigation is ongoing and is now pursued by Italy’s General Investigations and Special Operations Division (DIGOS), an elite unit charged with sensitive cases involving terrorism and organised crime.
“The searches are the first act in a probe that has to be developed,” Florence anti-mafia unit chief prosecutor Giuseppe Creazzo said in a statement to Italy’s public news agency, ANSA.