Prosecutors says ISIS ordered Italian resident to attack Rome
28 April 2016, 22:01
Milan - Italian police have arrested four suspects in a
foreign fighter investigation, including a Moroccan-born man living in Italy
who had received Islamic State (ISIS) orders to carry out attacks on Rome
during Holy Year, prosecutors said on Thursday.
Milan prosecutor Maurizio Romanelli told reporters that
investigators intercepted communications from within ISIS territory ordering
attacks in Italy, "with particular attention to the city of Rome" and
focusing on the Holy Year pilgrimage now under way.
He said the messages promoting lone-wolf attacks were
"very strong, very serious and very efficient", indicating that
Islamic State's current policy is to push for attacks in locations where
foreign fighters are residing "as the best way of creating terror within
While prosecutors gave no indication that attacks were
imminent, Romanelli said authorities acted quickly to close the investigation,
arresting four people in the northern Lombardy region and issuing arrest
warrants for two others believed to be in ISIS territory.
"This is a new profile, because it was not a generic
indication, but an indication given to a specific person who was invited to act
within the territory of the Italian state," Romanelli said.
He said the death in battle late last year of a foreign
fighter with ties to the group within ISIS territory had contributed to the
The fighter had been expelled from both Italy in 2015 and
later from Switzerland before traveling to IS territory, where he was killed.
Italian Premier Matteo Renzi praised the anti-extremists
operation as "very important”.
Authorities arrested the Moroccan-born man, identified as
Abderrahim Moutahrrick, and his wife, Salma Bencharki, who allegedly were
planning on traveling from their home in Lecco, north of Milan, to IS territory
with their children aged 2 and 4. Romanelli said Moutahrrick had taken Italian
citizenship and was an accomplished boxer.
Another Moroccan man who was planning to travel with
them, identified as Abderrahmane Khachia, 23, was arrested in the northern city
of Varese, prosecutors said. It was the death of his elder brother that prosecutors
identified as the radicalising event.
Prosecutors also issued arrest warrants for an
Italian-Moroccan couple who left to join ISIS last year with three small
Romanelli said that man, identified as Mohamed Koraichi,
had become an ISIS fighter and had communicated the orders to carry out attacks
in Italy while making arrangements for the other family to join ISIS.
The fourth arrest was of Koraichi's sister, prosecutors