A mafia boss has been murdered in Palermo, the capital of the Italian island of Sicily.

The violent Sicilian Mafia, known more commonly as Cosa Nostra (meaning 'our thing') has been blamed for the killing, with police believing the murder was a show of strength on the 25th anniversary of one the organisation's most famous atrocities.

67-year-old Giuseppe Dainotti, a known mafia figure, was cycling along a Palermo street when he was shot in the head.

Witnesses of the latest killing said they called police after hearing gunshots and believed Dainotti - a convicted killer himself who came out of jail in 2014 - was killed by two men who had pulled up alongside him on a scooter.

His death comes almost 25 years to the day since an anti-mob magistrate, Giovanni Falcone, was assassinated in a motorway explosion in Sicily.

AFP reports that Palermo prosecutor Francesco Lo Voi said: "When some people claim the mafia no longer exists or has been destroyed, something always happens to confirm it is still there. When necessary, it shoots again, in a clear and symbolic way."

The killing is most probably a statement of intent from Cosa Nostra, which has been relatively inactive and weakened in recent years.

Falcone's May 1992 killing, along with the violent death of fellow magistrate Paolo Borsellino just under two months later, led to a crackdown on mafia activity, with the arrest and imprisonment of many key members.


Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino were both killed by mafia memebers (Credit: PA)

Cosa Nostra has seen its influence in the crime world superseded in many ways by the ruthless 'Ndrangheta in Calabria and Naples' Camorra, a mafia outfit probably best known UK-side after its depiction in the film Gomorrah.

The Sicilian Mafia grew out of feudalism in the 19th century but as a wider organisation became well-known globally after developing on the east coast of America.

Films and television programmes such as The Godfather series, Goodfellas and The Sopranos have helped create a romanticised vision of the Mafia over the years as plucky, charismatic outlaws, but in its various incarnations, the mafia has been responsible for a series of horrific murders and years of intimidation for local citizens.

While some of the more elaborate murders depicted on the silver screen might not be quite accurate (such as Tony Spilotro's infamous live burial in Casino), the mafia in all its forms has never been known to shy away from fierce brutality, and has developed a power network based largely on fear, extortion and omerta, a code of silence which forbids people to talk to the police about suspected mafia crime.

Though portrayed as an act of 'honour' among members, omerta has generally been used to suppress criminal investigations into mafia crimes and act as a convenient way of dissuading would-be informers.

Due to its waning influence, reports suggest the Sicilian Mafia has had to join forces with international drug cartels such as those in Mexico in recent years, though as the murder of Dainotti shows, its willingness to carry out assassinations and determination to hold on to what power it has remains strong.

Source: AFP

Mel Ramsay

Mel Ramsay is an NCTJ trained Trending Journalist at LADbible and has worked here since 2015. She launched the 'LAD of the Week' feature in 2016 and has run it single-handedly ever since. She started her career writing obituaries and funeral guides online. Since then, her work has been published in a wide variety of national and local news sites. She is part of the BBC's Generation project and has spoken about young people, politics and mental health on television, radio and online.

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