Skip to comments.Italian Police Stumble On Al-Qaida Cell
Posted on 01/31/2003 4:20:51 PM PST by blam
Italian police stumble on al-Qaida cell
Italian police hunting illegal immigrants in Naples have stumbled across what they say is an al-Qaida terror cell.
They arrested 28 Pakistanis and found explosives, detonators, forged documents and maps of Nato installations in the flat the men were using.
Maps of the Naples area had "sensitive targets" circled with a pen.
The areas marked included the US consulate in the southern city and a nearby Nato base.
Police said they picked up the 28 Pakistanis, aged 20-48, during a routine search in Naples for illegal immigrants on Thursday.
During the raid of an apartment in the city centre, they uncovered almost two pounds of dynamite, 165 feet of explosive fuse and various types of detonators.
A police official said the combination of the materials "could have imploded a 10 storey building."
The men have been charged with association with the aim of international terrorism, possession of illegal explosive material, falsification of documents and trafficking.
Story filed: 18:39 Friday 31st January 2003
Note to Homeland Security Dept.: Think we could get some sort of exchange program going with the Italians to train us in how to defend our country? Don't know what we could offer them, though.
Obviously one of the countries of "old Europe" has their act together. Think I'll eat at the Olive Garden tonight!
Vedi Napoli, e puoi mori. I hope that saying doesn't turn true.
Makes you wonder what we could stumble onto if we checked the milions of illegals in this country. - Tom
Count on it.
Maybe they are not as PC as America. I salute them.
Sophie Arie in Rome
Saturday February 1, 2003
Italian authorities arrested 28 men after a raid on a flat in Naples uncovered explosive materials, maps showing military bases, photos of jihad martyrs and 100 mobile phones.
The men, all said to be Pakistanis, were charged with "association with international terrorism" and detectives are investigating possible links with the al-Qaida network.
Police discovered the men on Wednesday night during a routine check for illegal immigrants.
About 1kg of dynamite, 70 metres of explosive fuse and a number of detonators were found behind a false wall during the raid on the large flat in the historic centre of the city. The explosives would have been enough to blow up a three-storey building, officials said.
Police also found maps showing Nato's southern European headquarters in a Naples suburb. Local reports said police suspected that the possible targets included the Nato base, a nearby US naval base and the US consulate in Naples.
Along with the cache of mobile phones, a list of addresses around the world, piles of forged documents and photos of martyrs were also seized, police said.
Most of the men were illegal immigrants. They were living in a complex of several flats knocked into one in an area that has traditionally been a hotbed of mafia activity. In addition to charges of terrorist activity, they are accused of illegal possession of explosive materials, falsification of documents and receiving stolen goods.
The documents, written in Urdu, were being translated last night and detectives said they had not yet found any link to Britain.
Pakistan's ambassador to Italy, Zafar Hilali, denied the men were terrorists and said the arrests appeared to form part of a campaign of targeting innocent Pakistanis living in Italy.
"According to my information none had anything whatsoever to do with terrorism, none of them had anything like explosives," Mr Hilali told Pakistan TV.
"This is not the first time such allegations have been made. There are reasons these kinds of charges are levelled against our people and you can best judge what they are."
Last week, five Moroccans were arrested in a run-down building south of Venice in possession of explosives and documents, including a map of the London underground and another showing Nato bases in northern Italy. Police did not make any link between the two cases.
Italian authorities are also working with the CIA to investigate a possible al-Qaida "sleeping cell" in the northern city of Turin, according to La Repubblica newspaper.
The investigations began 18 months ago when it emerged that al-Qaida suspects being held at the US base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had spent a significant amount of time in the Italian city.
The report said authorities suspected some link between the Turin cell and militants in Afghanistan and Chechnya. No arrests have yet been made.
Since September 11, Italian police have arrested more than 100 suspected Islamic terrorists but most have not been charged due to lack of evidence.
Investigating magistrates had attempted to keep Wednesday's raid under wraps until more facts could be confirmed.
Yep! And coupled with open support.... I guess Italy has had enough of Muslim fanatics.
Guck Fermany and France!
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