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Mafia threatens Italian judges

ROME, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- A bazooka was discovered near a courthouse as Italian police conducted raids in connection with a series of threats against local magistrates, officials said.

The city of Reggio Calabria has been the target of threats from the local 'Ndrangheta mafia since a car was found in January full of weapons and explosives not far from the route Italian President Giorgio Napolitano took when he visited the city, ANSA news agency reported Tuesday.

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A man with alleged links to 'Ndrangheta was arrested in connection with that incident in September.

Demetrio Domenico Pratico, 49, was accused of mafia association and illegal possession of weapons, ANSA reported.

An anonymous phone call alerting the police to the bazooka found Tuesday included more threats against local officials.

"During the course of the phone call, fresh threats were made against Chief Prosecutor (Giuseppe) Pignatone," police said.

Reggio prosecutors have been subjected to serious threats from the mafia this year including a Jan. 3 firebomb outside the main courtroom, ANSA said.

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