Pakistani among three held in Italy over terrorist plots


Italian police arrested on Tuesday three people as part of an investigation into a militant cell suspected of planning attacks in Rome and London, authorities said.

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

Two Afghan citizens, one suspected of international terrorism and the other of aiding illegal immigration, were arrested, Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said in a statement.

A third man, a Pakistani also suspected of aiding illegal immigration, was detained in Milan later in the day, a police source said.

Police confiscated the suspects’ phones, on which they found footage of presumed targets including airports, ports, shopping centers and hotels in Rome, London and Bari, the main city in Puglia, the arrest warrant said. Investigators also found recordings of prayers and images of weapons and mutilated US soldiers.

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.

In all, the warrant calls for the arrests of five people. They are all officially resident near Bari but two are currently in Afghanistan, the source said.

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

Bari prosecutor Giuseppe Volpe said at a news conference that there was “absolutely no indication of an imminent attack in Italy”.