Italy’s most wanted mafia boss, Matteo Messina Denaro, has been arrested by police after 30 years on the run.
Messina Denaro is alleged to be a boss of Sicily’s Cosa Nostra mafia and has been on the run since 1993.
He was detained at a private hospital in the Sicilian capital Palermo, where he was receiving treatment for an undisclosed medical condition.
The 60-year-old was taken to a secret location immediately after the arrest, Italian state TV reported.
Italy’s prime minister Giorgia Meloni thanked authorities for the arrest and deemed the operation a “great victory for the state that shows it never gives up in the face of the mafia”.
Messina Denaro was sentenced in absentia to a life term for his role in the 1992 murders of anti-mafia prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.
He also faces a life sentence for his role in bomb attacks in Florence, Rome and Milan which killed 10 people the following year.
Last year police said he was still able to issue commands concerning the way the mafia was run in the area around the western Sicilian city of Trapani, his regional stronghold, despite being on the run.
Messina Denaro is also accused of being solely or jointly responsible for numerous other murders in the 1990s.
In 1993, he helped organise the kidnapping of a 12-year-old boy, Giuseppe Di Matteo, in an attempt to dissuade his father from giving evidence against the mafia, prosecutors say.
The boy was held in captivity for two years before he was strangled and his body dissolved in acid.
Messina Denaro was the last of three fugitive top-level Mafia bosses who had eluded capture for decades.
His arrest comes 30 years and a day after the capture of convicted “boss of bosses” Salvatore “Toto” Riina, who spent 23 years on the run.