Italian police round up dozens in raids on Mafia

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PALERMO, Italy, Oct 9 (Reuters) Italian police today arrested dozens of suspected members of the Sicilian Mafia in an operation they said was linked to the apparent murder of a member of the Santapaola clan of the Cosa Nostra.

The Anti-Mafia Investigation Department (DIA) in Sicily said it had issued 32 arrest warrants and had already carried out most of them on the island stronghold of the mob, but also on the mainland in Naples and much further north in Genoa.

The suspects were wanted on charges ranging from membership of the Mafia to extortion, corruption in public works and drug trafficking, the DIA said in a statement.

The anti-Mafia squad said the arrests were linked to its investigation into the death nine days ago of a cousin of Benedetto ''Nitto'' Santapaola, the head of the Corleone-based Mafia for the region of Catania in eastern Sicily.

Police suspect the murder was the result of a feud inside the clan.

REUTERS SG KN1420

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