World IN BRIEF : SICILY : Soldiers Deployed in Mafia Crackdown

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

The Italian government said it is sending 7,000 soldiers to Sicily to crack down on the Mafia, the most drastic step taken against domestic disorder since World War II. Since the assassination of anti-Mafia Judge Paolo Borsellino a week ago, there have been reports that organized crime bosses are flaunting their power in Sicily. Defense Minister Salvo Ando, in a blunt admission of the gravity of the crime menace, told reporters the government needs to "regain its authority" over the island. The first troops began arriving in Palermo, the Mafia's main stronghold, within hours of the government's decision. The soldiers are being designated "public security agents," giving them the power to stop suspects and carry out searches.

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