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142 arrested in antiterrorism sweep

ROME -- Police said yesterday they had arrested 142 people in a two-day antiterrorism security sweep around Milan prompted by the bombings two days earlier in London.

Some 2,000 carabinieri fanned out across the Lombardy region, stepping up patrols around train stations, subways, commercial centers and other sensitive sites, the regional commander of the paramilitary police, General Antonio Girone, said in a phone interview.

Girone said the operation was focusing on Milan because it had been the major focus of Italian investigations into Islamic terrorism and because it ''could be a major risk of possible attacks." He said the measures were designed to make people ''feel calmer after the London attacks."

Of those arrested, 84 were immigrants, and authorities issued 52 expulsion orders, he said. Most of those arrested were accused on drug, petty theft, or immigration-related charges, he said.

The operation was one of the most visible signs of stepped up security measures around Italy following Thursday's attacks in London and threats that Italy might be targeted as well for its support of the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Interior Ministry said it was stepping up police and intelligence controls, particularly around sites most at risk of terrorist attack. British installations in Italy were the top priorities. .

Italy sent about 3,000 troops to Iraq and 910 to Afghanistan.

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