There are calls to cancel a pro-migrant rally in Italy after an army officer and policeman were stabbed by a half Tunisian man suspected of “radicalisation”, the Italian media is reporting.
The attack occurred at the main train station of Italy’s second city Milan on Thursday, a police spokesman confirmed. The victims were rushed to hospital but are not in a “worrying” condition, the Corriere della Sera daily reports.
Alleged attacker Ismail Tommaso Ben Yousef Hosni, 21, has been arrest on suspicion of attempted murder. He was born in Milan to an Italian mother and Tunisian father, who was a convicted criminal. His childhood is said to have been “chaotic”.
Mr. Hosni was a prolific drug dealer who has been arrested a number of times in the city and was well known to authorities.
He was not on the police’s terror watch list, but officers who had regular contact with him noted he had recently grown a beard and may have started on a “path” of radicalisation, a separate report in Corriere della Sera claims.
According to the paper, he committed his attack with kitchen knives and displayed knowledge of how to inflict harm with the makeshift weapon, indicating he may have trained with them.
Despite the emerging evidence to the contrary, an Italian police spokesman told Reuters Thursday: “We don’t think at the moment that [terrorism] is the right hypothesis to explore.”
A so-called “anti-racist” march is planning in Milan tomorrow, called “together without walls”, and there have been calls to cancel it out of respect for the injured officers.
Mi auguro che il sindaco di Milano, Giuseppe Sala, annulli la manifestazione a sostegno dell’accoglienza dei… https://t.co/PIVqL7FrcW
— Alessandro Sorte (@sortealex) May 19, 2017
Alessandro Sorte, a regional councillor for the center-right Forza Italia party, Tweeted: “I hope the Mayor of Milan, Giuseppe Sala, cancel the rally…”
Mayor Sala rejected the calls. “I call for peaceful participation from everyone to help reflection on such an important issue,” he wrote on Facebook, before condemning those questioning mass migration after the attack.
“The criminal who attacked the security forces is the son of an Italian mother and a North African father and he is a full-blown Italian,” he added. “Despite this, some find it convenient to blame this criminal act on migrants”.