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Fugitive mobster's sister held

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Italian Prosecutor Maria Teresa Principato leaves a press conference in Palermo after police arrested the sister of Italy's top mafia boss (AP)

Italian Prosecutor Maria Teresa Principato leaves a press conference in Palermo after police arrested the sister of Italy's top mafia boss (AP)

Italian Prosecutor Maria Teresa Principato leaves a press conference in Palermo after police arrested the sister of Italy's top mafia boss (AP)

Police searching for Italy's top Cosa Nostra fugitive have arrested 30 people, including three of his relatives, accused of helping to run the crime clan's rackets while the powerful Mafia boss is on the run.

Investigators called Friday's pre-dawn sweep in Sicily a major step in their quest to capture Matteo Messina Denaro, who has been in hiding since 1993.

His sister, Patrizia Messina Denaro, was arrested at her home in Castelvetrano, a town in the crime clan's stronghold. The others taken into custody included a nephew and a cousin.

The capture of other Mafia fugitives has left Messino Denaro as the top Cosa Nostra figure being sought.

In Palermo, Carabinieri commander Mario Parente said: "We have never come as close to Matteo Messina Denaro as today."

AP

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