Italian police in Milan have identified and searched 18 migrant-background youths alleged to have taken part in sex attacks on New Year’s Eve in Milan’s central cathedral square in an incident that has been met with comparisons to the infamous Cologne New Year’s Eve attacks of 2015 which saw over 1,000 women molested.
The youths, aged between 15 and 21 are said to be either foreign-born or to be Italian citizens of North African heritage, are suspected of sexually assaulting as many as nine girls and young women in the Piazza del Duomo on New Year’s Eve.
The operation to identify and search the 18 youths was undertaken by both the Milan and Turin police and of the 18, twelve are being actively investigated for group sexual violence, robbery and aggravated assault, Il Giornale reports. Britain’s Guardian reports police raided the homes of 15 individuals.
According to the newspaper, investigators were able to identify the youths through witness testimony and from videos of the attacks that had been posted on social media.
One of the victims, a German student, spoke out about the attacks on New Year’s Eve saying, “I hope they find them and that justice is done for us and for all the other girls who were molested that evening.”
“When I fell to the ground it was all so fast, I thought ‘my God they are going to rape me’. They saw that I was crying, I begged them to stop but they didn’t stop, they laughed. Those hands were so aggressive, forcefully slipping them between my legs. I can’t imagine what would have happened if we hadn’t worn shorts,” the girl told the television programme Quarta Repubblica.
“I remember turning my head quickly and seeing one hand, then the other, so many hands on my body, on my breasts, between my legs, on my butt. I don’t know how many hands I had on me, but there were many. I think it was 30 men, I don’t know maybe 50, they didn’t stop and they tore off my bra and touched my breasts. I was naked, I panicked, I tried to protect my body from all those hands,” she said.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 10, 2017
According to the victim, her attackers spoke a language she believes to have been Arabic saying, “They talked to each other. I don’t remember well, but I heard that they spoke in Arabic. I don’t know about everyone, but I heard an Arabic language. I don’t know how I found the strength to get up from the ground. Only at the end, only after at least 10 minutes, I think, we managed to escape to the barriers.”
The incident echoes similar group sex attacks such as the mass attack in Cologne in 2015 that saw at least 1,300 young people, overwhelmingly women, robbed, sexually abused and even raped in and around the Cologne cathedral square and the city’s main railway station. The attacks were little reported in German at first, but after being amplified in the English speaking world by Breitbart News, Cologne’s New Year’s Eve became one of the biggest scandals in Germany that year.
Similar sex attacks have been seen in other countries, such as Austria on New Year’s Eve 2016, where at least 18 women were sexually assaulted in Innsbruck. Austrian police later arrested six migrants from Afghanistan in connection with the attacks.
Spate of New Year’s Eve Sex Attacks in Berlin and Cologne https://t.co/Yp3ZEFiRxZ
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 2, 2018
Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)breitbart.com