Carabinieri arrest top Cosa Nostra boss Messina Denaro

Messina Denaro after his arrest

 PALERMO, Sicily — Paramilitary police arrested long sought Mafia boss of bosses Matteo Messina Denaro in a private clinic in the Sicilian capital Monday, police said. Messina Denaro, 60, who had been on the run for 30 years, was nabbed by Carabinieri ROS special force police at the La Maddalena clinic in Palermo, where he had been a regular customer for health checks, and whisked away to a secret location, a ROS commander said.

The Cosa Nostra kingpin was sentenced to several life sentences in absentia for dozens of murders. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni hailed the capture as a "victory for the state. We don't surrender to the Mafia," she said. Police had been dismantling Messina Denaro's support network in recent months, including the arrest in September of 35 people suspected of making up his entourage while on the run.

 Messina Denaro, a native of Castelvetrano in Trapani province, was the last top boss of the Corleonesi clan of Cosa Nostra at large and is believed to know the secrets of the bomb attacks carried out by the clan at the height of its power in the 1990s including the car bomb asssinations of crime fighters Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino and subsequent bombings of cultural and religious targets such as the Uffizi museum in Florence and the Basilica of St John Lateran in Rome. There has long been speculation that the Mafia may have had support in the political establishment for the slaying of Falcone and Borsellino.