Fisherman’s WWII bomb find helped Mafia kill 21

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Italy has arrested a fisherman for supplying more than a ton of TNT recovered from unexploded Second World War bombs to the Mafia, which used it in a wave of explosions that killed 21 people two decades ago.

Cosimo D’Amato, 57, was held on the basis of testimony from turncoat Palermo mob boss Gaspare Spatuzza, who told investigators he had helped collect the explosives at a port near Sicily’s capital in 1992.

Prosecutor Giuseppe Quattrocchi said the source of explosives used to assassinate magistrates Giovanni Falcone and Salvatore Borsellino and their nine bodyguards in 1992 was the same as those for bombings in Florence and Milan the following year that killed ten people.

D’Amato is a relative of Cosimo Lo Nigro, a mob boss convicted of the bombings, but he has never previously been arrested for Mafia-related crimes.

The bombings rattled the nation just as corruption scandals overturned the political system and swept away the dominant Christian Democrat party.

Magistrates Falcone and Borsellino are considered national heroes for having successfully prosecuted Cosa Nostra as a single criminal organisation, ignoring repeated death threats.

The Mafia’s objective with the bombings, according to turncoats, was to force the state to the bargaining table to negotiate leniency for convicted mobsters.