Italian police raid Italian branch of Anonymous

The group is accused of denial of service attacks on institutional and corporate websites

Italian police have reported 15 suspected members of the Italian branch of the Anonymous hacker group to the judiciary for investigation on charges of illegally accessing IT systems, damaging IT systems and interrupting a public service, Italian media reported Wednesday.

The denunciations followed more than 30 raids on properties in Italy and Switzerland on Tuesday. Police said the suspects ranged in age from 15 to 28 and the alleged leader of the group was a 26-year-old Italian living in Switzerland, who used the nickname Thre.

The group is accused of denial of service attacks on institutional and corporate websites, including those of the Senate, Chamber of Deputies and Communications Authority. Among the alleged corporate victims were the arms manufacturer Finmeccanica, Unicredit Bank and the energy company ENI.

The attacks were generally connected to media controversies associated with the target institutions, police said. The suspects could face civil actions for damages on the part of their victims.

"There are many ways of expressing dissent but here we have crimes that have resulted in serious economic damage," Antonio Apruzzese, the head of the Postal and Telecommunications Police, told the Rome daily La Repubblica.

Anonymous Italy issued a statement denying it's structure had been dismantled and it's leaders arrested. "Anonymous has no leaders, no structure. All Anonymous members operate at the same level," it said. "Our protest will continue louder than ever."

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