Italian police arrest two suspected of planning attacks on London, Rome

Published May 10th, 2016 - 01:00 GMT
Police officers stand guard outside a court in Milan. (AFP/File)
Police officers stand guard outside a court in Milan. (AFP/File)

Italian police have arrested two people as part of a probe into a militant network suspected of planning attacks in Rome and London, an investigative source said on Tuesday.

The cell had been established in Puglia, in southeastern Italy, “to carry out violent attacks with the purpose of international terrorism, in Italy and abroad,” the arrest warrant read.

In all, the warrant calls for the arrest of five people, four Afghans and a Pakistani, three of whom are still at large. They are all officially resident near Bari, the main city in Puglia, but two are currently in Afghanistan, the source said.

Three of the suspects are accused of international terrorism and two of aiding illegal immigration.

Italy has not suffered deadly Islamist attacks like those in France and Belgium, but a number of people have been arrested on suspicion of planning assaults.

The group, whose members were arrested in Bari, are suspected of acting as a local unit or providing logistical support to an international organization linked to Daesh, investigators wrote in the arrest order.

The organization was also active in France and Belgium, the order said. Their plans to attack focused on Rome and London.

Police confiscated the suspects’ phones, on which they found footage of presumed targets including airports, ports, shopping centers and hotels.

Investigators also found recordings of prayers and images of weapons and mutilated U.S. soldiers.

Italy’s interior minister announced on Sunday the arrest of a Slovenian suspected of being part of an international militant group.

It was not immediately clear if the suspect was linked to Tuesday’s arrests.

Italy last year expelled more than 60 suspected extremists while monitoring more than 90 foreign fighters as part of stepped-up measures to prevent attacks on Italian soil.


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