Italian police played down terror concerns Friday after a “radicalised” man stabbed two soldiers and a police officer with a kitchen knife in Milan railway station, but have now launched a terror inquiry after more details about the suspect’s possible motivations came to light.
Counter-terror officers opened a file on 21-year-old Ismail Tommaso Hosni Friday after his links through social media network Facebook where he shared Islamic State videos and wrote in Arabic praising the terror organisation became known. He reportedly called a video featuring the Islamic State “the most beautiful” he’d ever seen.
The half-Tunisian, half-Italian male is reported to have stabbed two soldiers and a police officer during a routine patrol through Milan’s main railway station Friday afternoon.
Italy’s Repubblica reports comments made by the would-be killer — who has now been charged with attempted murder — after his arrest. The paper states he told his lawyer “I’m sorry for what happened, I was angry… I asked for help, but nobody helped me, I just wanted to work”.
Corriere Della Sera reports the extensive rap sheet of the would-be killer, who was apparently well known to local police for his drug dealing and had come to the attention to officers recently who noticed he had grown a beard and was observed to have started down the “path” of radicalisation. The paper also reports the man’s Tunisian father was known to police, who was sentenced to seven years prison in 1999 for sexual acts with minors and was also known for rape, criminal damage, theft, and domestic violence.
The opening of a terror investigation stands at odds with the position Italian police were standing by Friday afternoon, when a force spokesman told press: “We don’t think at the moment that [terrorism] is the right hypothesis to explore”.