Italy pursues ten suspects on terrorist financing charges

Italy has issued arrest warrants for 10 people, including an imam, suspected of financing terrorism, prosecutors said Saturday.

Italy pursues ten suspects on terrorist financing charges

The eight Tunisians and two Italians are suspected of having set up false bank accounts and businesses to move large sums of money and avoid taxes, said the prosecutors' office in Aquila in the central Abruzzo region.

The iman being sought was based in the city of Teramo in the same region, the statement added.

The money “also financed activities linked to the radical Al-Nusra organisation” formerly the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda, prosecutors said.

And some of the money was earmarked for imams in Italy, “including one convicted for association with a group linked to international terrorism”.

Prosecutors have already seized more than a million euros ($1.1 million) in money, property and other assets belonging to one of the 10 suspects, an Italian accountant, said prosecutors.

Investigators later told journalists that a Tunisian living in Turin, northern Italy, was believed to be the ringleader.

He owned companies involved in construction and the carpet trade.

“We have reasonable cause to believe that the group… created secret funds that were transferred to Turkey, where they financed the departure of aspiring terrorists to Syria,” Aquila prosecutor Michele Ranzo told journalists.

Pasquale Angelosanto, a general in the para-military carabinieri police force, added: “In many recorded telephone conversations, the suspects spoke about Syria and Iraq, referring to an Al-Nusra unit towards which it directed aspiring fighters;”

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Runner dies in Italy-to-France ultra marathon

A runner taking part in an ultra-marathon in the Alps has died during the race after a fatal fall on a high-altitude mountain path, emergency services told AFP on Wednesday.

Runner dies in Italy-to-France ultra marathon
The race traverses Mont Blanc. Illustration photo: Eric Feferberg/AFP

The 35-year-old from the Czech Republic was taking part in a warm-up event ahead of the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, a famed endurance event that takes place every year around western Europe’s highest peak.

The man fell during the night after setting off with more than 1,000 other runners from the Italian ski resort of Courmayeur on Tuesday afternoon along the 145-kilometre course of the TDS race to Chamonix in France.

Emergency services were alerted after midnight on Wednesday and flew in a helicopter to the scene of the accident in the Bourg-Saint-Maurice district, but they were unable to revive him, local police commander Patrice Ribes told AFP.

Organisers of the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, which takes places on Friday, said it was the first death in one of their events since their start in 2003.

Elsewhere in the French Alps on Wednesday, a 60-year-old climber died in the Isère region after suffering a fall of 30 metres.