Police ‘break IS recruitment ring’


Published: Wednesday 25th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Italian police have dismantled a ring of Islamic extremists in Italy and Albania who recruited fighters for Islamic State (IS).

Three people have been arrested and a warrant has been issued for a fourth, who is already in Syria.

One of the suspects, a 20-year-old Italian of Moroccan origin, purportedly authored an Italian-language IS propaganda booklet for potential Italian jihadis that was published online, police said.

The 64-page booklet: “The Islamic State, a reality that wants to be communicated,” describes security and well-being living under IS rule, but also the ruthlessness with which the group treats its enemies, a police statement said.

Police said the two others arrested were Albanian. One man was arrested in Albania and his nephew in Turin.

Albanian police identified the uncle as Alban Elezi, 38, and said he was arrested on an Interpol warrant from Italy.

Italian police said the Albanians had targeted a young Italian of Tunisian origin as a potential recruit, and that Elezi had travelled to Italy to bring him on board.

Police said the three suspects were in touch, via Facebook and telephone, with another Italian of Moroccan origin who is among the 65 “foreign fighters” that Italy has traced to Syria.

Police said a warrant was also issued for that man, identified by the ANSA news agency as Anas El Abboubi. He had been arrested by Italian authorities on terrorism-related charges in 2013.

The Albanians were accused of recruitment with the aim of terrorism, while the alleged author of the propaganda booklet was accused of aggravated terrorist sympathies.

The operation, dubbed the Balkan Connection, underlined how Balkan nations are trying to crack down on the flight of Muslims to fight in Syria.

Earlier this month, nine Albanian Muslims went on trial in Albania on charges of recruiting and sending more than 70 men to fight with Syrian rebel groups.

Published: Wednesday 25th March 2015 by The News Editor

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