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Naples - Italian police arrested 32 people in Naples on Wednesday in the first major security operation since the government took emergency steps to stop a crime wave in the southern city.
But there was more violence in the streets, as two men riding in a stolen ambulance shot dead a man believed by police to have Mafia links. It was the ninth killing in two weeks in Naples, home to a branch of the Mafia, though the first since October 31.
Police arrested 20 people from two Mafia clans suspected of extortion and drug dealing in an overnight raid in the western neighbourhood of Fuorigrotta.
In a separate operation, 400 police from a newly created special squad combed the streets of Melito, a northern neighbourhood where drug dealing is rife, arresting 12 people.
The raids follow Interior Minister Giuliano Amato's decision last week to deploy more than
1 000 additional security forces to Italy's third biggest city.
Home to the Camorra, a local version of the Sicilian Mafia, Naples is no stranger to violence.
But the recent spate of murders, stabbings and armed robberies has even prompted calls within Prime Minister Romano Prodi's cabinet to send in the army, an option Prodi has not ruled out.