Ex-members of Italian left-wing terrorism group arrested in France

Seven Italian former members of the Red Brigades have been arrested in France for terrorism offences.

French police are searching for three more suspects who were not at home during the raids on Wednesday morning.

The arrests came after Italy had issued warrants for “acts of terrorism”, the French presidency said in a statement.

The Red Brigades are a left-wing domestic terrorism group that was active in attacks and kidnappings in the 1970s and 1980s. After the group fell dormant, it is believed their members took refuge in neighbouring France.

The names of the suspects were communicated to French prosecutors by the Italian government after “important bilateral preparatory work, lasting several months, which led to the selection of the most serious crimes”.

“France, also hit by terrorism, understands the need for justice for the victims,” the Elysée added.

“The president wished to settle this matter, as Italy had been asking for years.”

Italy had initially identified 200 individuals linked to the group. A French court will now decide whether those detained will be extradited to Italy.

France did not provide details about the identities of the five men and two women arrested nor the specific crimes are they are suspected of.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has expressed his “satisfaction at France’s decision to launch the legal proceedings requested by Italy”.

“Those [arrested are] responsible for very serious terrorist crimes, which have left a wound that is still open,” the government said

“The memory of those barbaric acts is alive in the conscience of Italians.”

The Italian Undersecretary to the Ministry of the Interior, Carlo Sibilia, has also hailed the arrests as a “historic result”.

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