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Posted On: 18 July 2019 10:19 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:21 pm

French missile found among seized arsenal of weapons in Italy was sold 25 years ago to third country: Qatar

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Qatar has confirmed that it has been following media reports about an arsenal of weapons that has been seized by the Italian police in Italy very closely and with a lot of concern. According to media reports, the arsenal of weapons were found with what has been described as an 'extreme right party', according to Reuters.

Among the weapons seized, a French Matra air-air missile that was once owned by the Qatari Armed Forces was found.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said in a statement Wednesday that the authorities in Qatar have immediately started an investigation alongside the respective Italian authorities and the authorities of another friendly nation, that requested not to be named at this time, to which the Matra missile was sold 25 years ago.

The early stages of the investigation and the tracked serial numbers illustrate the facts that the captured Matra Super 530 missile was sold by Qatar in the year 1994 in a deal that included 40 Matra Super 530 missiles to a friendly nation that wishes not to be named at this point of the investigation, the statement said.

According to the Italian police, the missile was found after suspects tried to sell it and were talking about it through Whatsapp messaging and one of the suspects Fabio Del Bergiolo, 50, a former candidate for the neo-fascist Forza Nuova party, sent photographs of this particular missile. The messages were intercepted by the police and Bergiolo was put under surveillance before they raided his home and found an arsenal of weapons. Bergio and two other suspects - a Swiss national, 42, and an Italian, 51, who were accused of holding the Matra Super 530 which was found in a warehouse, according to a report by France24.

After subsequent checks, the police was able to determine that the missile was working, but it did not have an explosive charge to set it off.

Qatar is working very closely now with the police and other authorities in Italy and the country to which the missile was sold to unveil the facts, and it is very concerned as to how a missile sold 25 years ago ended up in the hands of a third non-state party, MOFA stressed in its statement.

Cover image credit: France24