Four Terror Suspects Arrested in Italy
ROME (AP) _ Italian police have arrested an Egyptian, a Somali and two Iraqi Kurds suspected of links with Islamic terrorist groups, anti-terrorism police said Tuesday.
The arrests were ordered by Milan prosecutor Stefano Dambruoso, who has been leading investigations into suspected Islamic cells in Italy. Bruno Megale of Milan’s anti-terrorism police confirmed the arrests but refused to say where or when they were made, saying the investigation was in progress.
Italian daily newspapers Corriere della Sera and La Repubblica said the arrests apparently were carried out Monday evening and the men were suspected of belonging to the extremist Islamic group Ansar al-Islam, based in northern Iraq.
U.S. officials believe Ansar al-Islam is linked to al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden’s terror network, and has plotted attacks in several countries, including Italy. The U.S.-led coalition has captured the group’s base in northern Iraq.
A judge said in his written approval for the arrest warrants that the suspects were providing men for that base camp and helping militants passing through Italy sneak into other European countries, such as Germany and Britain, reported the Italian news agency Ap.Biscom.
The Italian news agency ANSA and other reports said two men were picked up in Milan and the other two were arrested in Parma, another northern Italian city. They were planning to leave the country, the reports said.
The suspects were charged with subversive association aimed at international terrorism, forging documents and aiding illegal immigration, RAI state television said.
Also, at least seven other people were being investigated in the same probe, the reports said.
Corriere reported that before the arrests, the suspects’ telephone conversations had been tapped for months.
Dambruoso was unavailable for comment on the reports.
The arrests were the latest in a series of raids that have captured dozens of suspected terrorists in Italy. Many of those suspects later were released for lack of evidence.