Italian police have arrested the country’s most wanted mafia boss who had been on the run for 30 years.
Prosecutors say Matteo Messina Denaro is a boss of Sicily’s Cosa Nostra mafia.
Police on Monday morning swooped in on a private hospital in the Sicilian capital, Palermo, where the 60-year-old was receiving treatment for an undisclosed medical condition, to make the arrest.
Messina Denaro has been sentenced in absentia to a life term for his role in the 1992 murders of anti-mafia prosecutors, Giovanni Falcone, and Paolo Borsellino.
He also faces a life sentence for his involvement in bomb attacks in Florence, Rome and Milan the following year, which killed 10 people.
Messina Denaro, who comes from the small southern town of Castelvetrano near Trapani, was accused by prosecutors of being solely or jointly responsible for several other murders in the 1990s.
In 1993, he helped organise the kidnapping of a 12-year-old boy, Giuseppe Di Matteo, in an attempt to dissuade his father from giving evidence against the mafia, prosecutors say. The boy was held in captivity for two years before he was strangled and his body dissolved in acid.
Police said in September last year that he was still able to issue commands relating to the way the mafia was run in the area around the western Sicilian city of Trapani, his regional stronghold, despite his long disappearance.
Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, welcomed his arrest as a “great victory for the state”.
“The prevention (of) and fight against mafia crime … will continue to be an absolute priority of this government,” Meloni said in a post on Twitter. —Al Jazeera And News Agencie
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