• Italy's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Italy arrests suspected Bin Laden aides

The Local · 24 Apr 2015, 11:27

Published: 24 Apr 2015 10:27 GMT+02:00
Updated: 24 Apr 2015 11:27 GMT+02:00

The two men were part of a network protecting bin Laden in Pakistan, before he was killed by US forces in May 2011, Italy’s state police said in a statement.

The duo were among a number of alleged members of an international terrorist organization - affiliated to Al-Qaeda - arrested on Friday morning.

The “vast anti-terrorism operation” was carried out across seven Italian provinces, while Sardinia was pinpointed as the operational base of the group.

Investigators revealed that the criminal organization “had arms in abundance at its disposal and numerous followers who were prepared to carry out acts of terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan, before re-entering Italy.”

Members of the group are responsible for “numerous and bloodthirsty acts of terrorism and sabotage in Pakistan”, including a bomb attack in Peshawar in 2009. Over 100 people were killed in the attack at the Meena Bazar market.

Additionally, they may have plotted to attack the Vatican in 2010, AFP reported quoting Prosecutor Mauro Mura in Cagliari, the Sardinian capital.

The network also helped Pakistanis and Afghans enter Italy illegally, with some of the migrants moving on to northern European countries.

Some of the immigrants were given fake job contracts, thanks to the help of obliging businessmen. Others were handed fake documents which marked them out as victims or ethnic or religious persecution.

Police said: “The organization supplied logistical support and finance to undocumented migrants, guaranteeing them: defence regarding immigration office experts, instructions on the statements to make to obtain political asylum, equipping them with phones and sim cards, personal contacts.”

The group’s operations were financed with the support of the Tabligh Eddawa religious movement, between Brescia and Bergamo, which allegedly spurred on the collection of funds within the Pakistani-Afghan community in Italy.

Story continues below…

Money was then sent to Pakistan through members of the criminal organization, who got around controls on exporting currently. In one case €55,268 was sent on a flight to Islamabad from Rome’s Fiumicino airport, without being declared.

More often, however, they operated a currency transfer system through trusted Islamic communities in Europe.

The criminal group preached an armed fight against western countries and planned an insurrection against the government in Pakistan. Its violent campaign in the country was a strategy to force the government to give up its fight against militants, Italian police said. 

For more news from Italy, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Today's headlines
Italy tests 3,500 children for TB after doctor diagnosed
The doctor had carried out vaccinations on thousands of small children. File photo: Pexels

The hospital stressed the tests were a "precautionary and preventative measure".

Ancient Roman coins unearthed at Japanese castle
The 4th-century copper coin found in Japan. Photo: Jiji Press/AFP

How the coins got there is a mystery.

Italy slashes growth figures ahead of crucial referendum
Matteo Renzi at a press conference last month. Photo: AFP

Italy's economy has barely grown since 1999 - hitting working and middle class voters hardest. Economists say Italy will struggle to hit even the "prudent" revised targets.

Italy professor: Students should plagiarize - teachers do
One of the university buildings. Photo: Maris Firsova

A professor at Italy's oldest university says teachers are granted "impunity" in case of plagiarism.

Pope cars auctioned off to help Syrian refugees
The cars have personalized number plates. Photo: AFP

Got a spare €9,000?

Renzi revives plan for a 'bridge to Sicily'
Renzi said the bridge would "bring Sicily closer". Photo: Sarah Murray/Flickr

The bridge was first dreamed up in the 1960's, but no prime minister has succeeded in bringing it to fruition.

‘Destitute’ private jet owner fined thousands for tax fraud
The private jet-owner claimed to have no income or property. File photo: Bob Adams/Flickr

He had a private aeroplane and eight homes.

Italian mayor refuses to officiate civil unions
A protest in favour of civil unions earlier this year. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

“Why can’t a mayor be a conscientious objector?”

Netflix to launch 'illuminating' Amanda Knox documentary
Amanda Knox in court for her first appeal of her murder conviction. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP pool/AFP

The documentary comes out on Netflix on Friday.

Venetians dress as pirates to protest cruise ships
A protestor at a previous demonstration against large ships. Photo: AFP

Locals aren't happy about the presence of huge cruise ships in the Venetian lagoon.

Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP
Culture
Eight things you should know about Rome's Spanish Steps
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
The incredible hero dogs of Italy’s earthquake
National
Why quake-hit Amatrice will never be the same again
National
Why discontented Italians could derail their economy
Society
Keep passports safe: Typical pickpocket scams revealed
Culture
Why coffee in Italy is a culture you must taste to understand
Society
The richest families in Florence in 1427 are still rich today
Culture
So why do pasta-loving Italians live such long lives?
National
Italy's Renzi prepares for stormy autumn
Society
This 104-year-old just saw the sea for the first time
National
Should Rome give up on its 2024 Olympic dream?
Society
The Italian doctor giving hope to thousands of migrants
Culture
Ten 'Italian' dishes that don't actually exist in Italy
Sport
Five Italian athletes going for gold at the Rio Olympics
Travel
Trastevere: From a fiery past to Rome’s souvenir stand
Politics
Think Trump would be a disaster? Just ask the Italians
National
How Brexit has helped to expose Italy’s banking malaise
Politics
After Brexit, keep a close eye on Italy's Five Star Movement
Lifestyle
12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Italy
National
Why Milan could be Europe's post-Brexit financial hub
Travel
Five crowd-free alternatives to Italy's tourist hotspots
2,523
jobs available