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ITALIANS `BEHEAD’ MOB INFILTRATION

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Police arrested hundreds of people Wednesday in one of Italy's largest anti-Mafia operations in a decade aimed at stamping out southern mob infiltration into the north of the country.

Police issued 370 arrest warrants across Italy, Belgium and Switzerland for crimes committed since 1983 ranging from criminal association, drug and arms trafficking, murder and extortion.Interior Minister Roberto Maroni told a news conference the anti-Mafia operation, code-named "San Vito," was the largest in Italy for 10 years.

"This operation began a very long time ago and must be seen as a very hard blow against the Mafia," Maroni said. "Its network in Lombardy has been beheaded."

Most of the arrests were in northern Lombardy where police have been investigating infiltration into the north of southern Calabrian 'Nrangheta mobsters working in collaboration with the Sicilian Mafia.

The bulk of the arrests - including 117 warrants issued to people already in jail - were made in the northern cities of Como and Varese with others in Brescia and Milan.