Italian police have arrested a 29-year-old far-right activist on suspicion that he sent pigs’ heads to the Israeli embassy in Rome, the city’s synagogue, and the Jewish Museum of Rome, which is hosting a Holocaust exhibition.
Police on Friday said they were preparing to charge the man, who was allegedly linked to jingoist groups and was planning to found a new organization.
Although he was being investigated in connection with the acts, which were committed in the run-up to International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, the man had not been taken into custody.
“Those who insult the Jewish community offend Rome. We reject the intimidation outright,” Rome mayor Ignazio Marino said in a tweet, after a package mailed to the embassy in the wealthy Parioli area of the Italian capital was intercepted by police on January 25 and found to contain a pig’s head.
Police found fingerprints and DNA traces found on the boxes, which were sealed with packing tape and delivered by the same postal company. It wasn’t initially clear whether the suspect was identified based on those findings.
Anti-Semitic graffiti was also sprayed outside a municipal building in a Rome neighborhood. One graffito read “the Holocaust is a lie” and the second showed a swastika with the words “Hanna [sic] Frank is a big liar,” Corriere Della Sera reported.
Local politician Yuri Bugli condemned the vandalism in his district, calling the perpetrators “cowards” and “unrivaled idiots.” He called for “firm condemnation” of the act, while “remembering each day the horrors caused by Nazi racial hatred.”
News agencies contributed to this report.