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Italy cracks down on mafia in Palermo

Dec. 16, 2008 at 12:56 PM

PALERMO, Italy, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- A major crackdown on organized crime in Palermo, Italy, has kept the Cosa Nostra from "getting back on its feet," a top mafia prosecutor said Tuesday.

Nearly 100 people were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of trying to re-energize the Palermo Cosa Nostra, which has been without a key leader since the 2007 arrest of Salvatore Lo Piccolo and the 2006 arrest of Bernardo Provenzano, said Pietro Grasso, a federal prosecutor.

"If in 2006 we were able to bring Cosa Nostra to its knees, with this operation we have kept it from getting back on its feet," Grasso said.

Alleged mafia figures in Palermo were getting ready to choose a new boss and return to a strategy of high-profile killings to re-establish their power, Grasso told ANSA, the Italian news agency.

"The Mafia remains true to itself. Its structures, methods and projects in the end are always the same," Palermo Chief Prosecutor Francesco Messineo said.

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