A new report has revealed that Italian mafia gangs are providing ISIS fighters stationed in Libya with weapons in exchange for smuggled monumental antiquities. The mobs later put the invaluable antiquities back to the market, to sell it to art patrons and connoisseurs from Asia and Russia.
According to the Intel published by the Italian newspaper La Stampa, and examined by Al Arabiya.net, an organized crime group in relation to the Italian mafia in the southern city of Calabria, are purchasing Kalashnikovs artilleries, rocket propelled grenades as well as rocket launchers from Moldova and Ukraine. The Italian Mafia in cooperation with the Russian Mafia smuggles these weapons to devolve them in the end in the hands of the ISIS fighters, based in the city of Sirt, Libya.
In exchange for weapons, the Italian mob obtains Greek and Roman antiquities that ISIS fighters burglarized during their battles in Libya.
An Italian journalist working at La Stampa went undercover. Pretending to be an art collector , he reached out to the crime group in Southern Italy . He eventually received an offer to snip an exceptionally unique piece , a head made of marble , sculpted in the ancient Roman era for a mere 60 thousand Euros. He later realized that the same artifact is one of the stolen antiquities looted by ISIS fighters, and displayed for sale in Southern Italy.
The mafia also put in display pictures of a bust sculpture with larger proportions that dates to the ancient Greek era, for the price of 800 thousand Euros.
As claimed by the Italian newspaper, the stolen treasures are shipped to the shores of Calabria in Southern Italy to be later auctioned to art collectors from China, Russia and Japan as well as the wealthy from Gulf countries.
ISIS has established local militia in Libya to execute looting and smuggling, in an attempt from the organization to make profits from contraband. This same operation has already proven effective in Iraq and Syria.
The newspaper revealed and for the first time, that Libyan archaeologists and geologists responsible for the archeological sites in the country received death threats in an attempt to scare them off from reporting the violations committed by ISIS.
There are five archaeological sites in Libya that are officially registered as world heritage sites by UNESCO, the specialized agency of the United Nations UN.
On the other hand, La Stampa reported that Italian investigators from the security services affirmed that they have suspicions about the involvement of Mafia gangs in weapons trafficking for ISIS. An Italian security source stated that “Islamist fundamentalist fighters are well implicated in weapon and drug trafficking since the 1990s. “
It is maintained that ISIS controls a number of restricted areas in Libya, yet it is widely believed that large numbers of fighters managed to escape Syria and Iraq as a result of the repeated military strikes, and are now stationed in the Libyan city of Sirt, where Libyan forces are fighting fierce battles to free their country.