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Roma 'ultras' charged with attempted murder of Spurs fans

The Tottenham supporters were targetted because of the club’s links to the Jewish community in London, reports in Italy suggest.

The Drunken Ship in Rome the morning after five English football fans we injured after being attacked.
The Drunken Ship in Rome the morning after five English football fans we injured after being attacked.
Image: Paul Hirst/Pa images

TWO HARDLINE ‘ULTRA’ supporters with connections to AS Roma have been arrested and charged with attempted murder following a violent assault on a group of Tottenham fans in Rome.

Around 10 visiting supporters from the Premier League club were injured in the attack on a pub in the early hours of Thursday morning.

It was immediately believed the attack was carried out exclusively by hardline supporters from Serie A club Lazio, who hosted Tottenham in a Europa League match last night.

But it has since emerged two of those arrested have connections to Lazio’s bitter city rivals AS Roma, and the attack may have been carried out by a far right group with anti-Semitic leanings. Tottenham has long had an association with the Jewish community in London and eyewitnesses reported hearing anti-Semitic insults during the attack.

Newspaper reports Friday said police had arrested 26-year-old Francesco Ianari and 27-year-old Mauro Pinnelli — identified as having connections to Roma — and charged both with attempted murder. Both were arrested thanks to the CCTV cameras installed in Rome’s Campo Fiori area.

One of the injured men, identified as Ashley Mills, had suffered cuts to the head which left him in a serious condition in hospital although he is now reported to be out of danger. Gazzetta dello Sport said Ianari’s telephone was a “precious” piece of evidence which showed him helping to plan the attack with an ultra from Lazio. He was identified as the assailant who jumped on a bus and started boasting to passengers of the role he played in the incident.

The English fans were drinking in the Drunken Ship pub when up to 40 people charged into the pub, blocked exits and started the assault using tables, chairs, iron bars and monkey wrenches.

Owner Marco Manzi told Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper Thursday:

“Everything looked planned, they were extremely organised. They blocked the second exit and were even armed with tear gas. They managed to isolate the English and started hitting them with bars, chairs and tables.”

Lazio president Claudio Lotito immediately condemned the attacks but said he would make no further comment until the facts had been established.

“These kinds of acts must always be condemned but from the information we currently have it is not clear this assault is the work of Lazio fans,” the report quoted him as saying.

- © AFP, 2012

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