Italian police have arrested an Afghan migrant who planned terror attacks in Italy, Britain and France and another involved in people smuggling.
Only days after the arrest of a Slovenian man accused of recruiting fighters for the Islamic state Italian police have made another terror arrest. Police in Italy say they discovered evidence on the mobile phone of the migrant that revealed his intentions to commit terror attacks across multiple countries in Europe, likely on behalf of the Islamic state The Local reports.
The man is said to have been part of a five man terror cell that has direct connections to ISIS and Al Qaeda. Warrants for the arrest of two more Afghans and a Pakistani have been issued while another Afghan migrant was arrested in connection with people smuggling stoking the fears that radical Islamist groups are directly involved in smuggling fighters into Europe.
The two migrants arrested, aged 23 and 29 respectively, are said to have been the two key members of the terror cell, founding it initially and providing support to ISIS according to prosecutor Roberto Rossi. Rossi told journalists at a press conference that the cell phone found showed the cell was preparing for attacks against, “government and military targets, public institutions, international companies and civilian targets.”
He said that images found on the phone were reconnaissance data for attacks saying, “it was clear these were not tourist images. They appear to have been scouting sensitive sites.”
Among the images recovered were videos of Taliban propaganda and, “a series of chants traditionally sung in preparation for martyrdom,” likely ISIS themed “nasheed” chants that feature prominently in ISIS videos. Rossi told Italian paper La Repubblica that one of the migrants arrested posed with an M-16 semi-automatic rifle which in Europe is incredibly hard to own because of strict gun laws and regulations.
Also on the phone were links to website, “only accessible to those with connections to the international jihadist network,” according to Rossi.
Rossi also shed light on the smuggling operations linked to the cell saying they had evidence of the group travelling across Europe, always paying in cash, and information on smuggling routes through Hungary, Italy and Calais.
The two arrested came to Italy as asylum seekers themselves, one in 2011 and the other having only been in Italy for a week.The latter, before his arrest, was still living in an asylum reception centre.The pair are by no means the first ISIS linked migrants to have attempted to, or succeeded in sneaking into Europe during the migrant crisis
As the summer comes many expect a huge wave of migrants coming into Italy from Libya and at least one senior French politician has warned that ISIS will likely smuggle more fighters to Europe. Some experts warn that ISIS fighters may even pose as street vendors in Italy and elsewhere to commit attack similar to what happened on the beaches of Tunisia in the summer of 2015.