Italy expels four suspected jihadists

Italy on Friday expelled four Moroccans suspected of advocating terrorism, bringing the number of suspected jihadists deported from Italy so far this year to 59.

Italy expels four suspected jihadists
Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said the four were being watched for some time. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

The four, who lived near Bologna, allegedly used the internet to “circulate jihadist propaganda, manuals on carrying out attacks and songs celebrating martyrdom,” La Stampa reported.

One of the documents reportedly discussed how to carry out an attack at the European Central bank.

Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said the four had been under surveillance for a while.

“For various reasons, [the four] joined and committed themselves to the spread of violent extremism,” Alfano said.

“These results show that our security systems work and that, through prevention, we aim to reduce the risk of an attack.”

The move came after Italy raised its terror alert in the wake of the Paris attacks, in which 130 people died, and amid a tip-off from the FBI that attacks were being planned at key monuments in Rome and Milan. Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said last Thursday that Italy was hunting five jihadists in relation to the warning.

Earlier this month, Italian police announced a swoop on a European jihadist network that was allegedly planning to try to spring its leader out of detention in Norway.

Seventeen people were targeted in the raids across Europe – 16 Kurds and a Kosovan. Six of them were arrested in Italy, four in Britain and three in Norway.

Investigators said the network was trying to free Norway-based fundamentalist preacher Najmuddin Ahmad Faraj – also known as Mullah Kreka – who is listed as a terrorist by the United States and United Nations.

Among those arrested in Italy was Abdul Rahman Nauroz, who police said was “particularly active in recruitment activities” with his apartment in the northern city of Merano being used as a “place for secret meetings and a crossroads for aspiring jihadists”.


Italy’s Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report

Ex-PM Matteo Renzi would like to see former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi become prime minister of Italy, a party source told Reuters on Sunday.

Italy's Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report
Matteo Renzi. Image: Andreas Solaro/ POOL / AFP

“I would say that is one of our proposals,” confirmed the source, who declined to be named.

The Italian government collapsed last week when PM Giuseppe Conte resigned. The former coalition allies are currently trying to come to an agreement and sort out their differences.

The centre-left government had been in turmoil ever since former premier Matteo Renzi withdrew his Italia Viva party earlier this month, a move that forced Conte to step down this week.

During the past year, Renzi frequently criticised Conte’s management of the pandemic and economic crisis.

Italy’s La Stampa newspaper also reported on Sunday that President Sergio Mattarella was considering Draghi for the prime ministerial role. However, Mattarella’s office promptly denied this, saying there had been no contact between them.

So far, there has been no comment from Draghi, who hasn't been seen much in the public eye since 2019.

Italy's president, Sergio Mattarella, gave ruling parties more time on Friday to form a new government, after the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. 

Coalition parties Italia Viva, the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement must come to an agreement to allow the government to heal. 

Renzi, a former prime minister himself, has pubilcly stated that he does not want to talk about who should lead the next government at this stage, reasoning that the parties need to agree on a way forward first.

“Any effort today to fuel a discussion about Draghi is offensive to Draghi and above all to the president of the republic,” Renzi said in an interview published on Sunday with Corriere della Sera.

A senior Italia Viva lawmaker also told Reuters that “If the president gives a mandate to Draghi, we would certainly support this”. 

Renzi, whose party is not even registering three percent support in opinion polls, quit the coalition over Conte’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his plans for spending more than 200 billion euros from a European Union fund to help Italy’s damaged economy.

READ ALSO: Why do Italy's governments collapse so often?