Self-radicalized Tunisian held in Italy on terror suspicion

AP News
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Posted: Aug 05, 2016 12:03 PM
Self-radicalized Tunisian held in Italy on terror suspicion

MILAN (AP) — A Tunisian resident has been arrested on terror charges after being identified as a self-proclaimed radical during a year-long investigation into an illegal immigration ring, authorities said Monday.

Police investigator, Gen. Giuseppe Governale, told a press conference Friday that the suspect, identified as a caretaker at a mosque outside of Naples, demonstrated an intention to carry out attacks in Italy but had not yet made any concrete plans. He had recently been radicalized and had celebrated terror attacks, including the one in Nice last month that killed 85 people.

Governale said the suspect had written in Arabic on his Facebook page: "I am a member of ISIS until I am dead, and if I die I will exult in being a part of it," and posted a photograph of a French flag being trampled.

The Tunisian was among eight people arrested following a year-long investigation into a ring that procured false documents to help illegal immigrants, mainly northern Africans and Pakistanis, to obtain residency in Italy.

The arrest comes the day after Interior Minister Angelino Alfano announced the expulsion of two more Tunisians with suspected links to extremism, bringing to 106 the number of such suspects expelled since the beginning of 2015.

In the wake of recent attacks in Europe, Italy has intensified its vigilance in regard to suspected Islamic extremists, including expelling residents in cases lacking evidence to support charges, and visibly increased security in the capital, Rome.