Italian authorities arrested four people yesterday in Northern Italy for plotting attacks against Italy and the Vatican City State under the direction of the Islamic State. Those arrested were
- Abderrahim Moutahrrick, a Moroccan kick boxer with Italian citizenship who received a message that read, "Dear brother Abderrahim, I send you... the bomb poem... listen to the sheik [Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi] and strike";
- Salma Bencharki, Moutahrrick's wife;
- Abderrahmane Khachia, a 23-year-old Moroccan who said "I want to hit Israel in Rome";
- and the sister of Mohamed Koraichi, a Moroccan who was in communication with Moutahrrick and is believed to be in Syria with his Italian wife (arrest warrants have been issued for Koraichi and his wife).
Commenting on the arrests, Maurizio Romanelli, a Milan-based prosecutor, explained the significance of the plot that led to the arrests:
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 [more].
Romanelli also called the attacks "very strong, very serious and very efficient."
This acknowledgement - and the arrests - came just two days after Lorenzo Vidino, director of the Programme on Extremism at George Washington University, claimed, "There's not really a 'jihadist scene' in Italy...there are no big recruitment areas for Isis [sic]." I suppose this only shows the so-called experts do not always know everything.
It was only four days ago that James R. Clapper, Jr., Director of National Intelligence, warned of the Islamic State's growth in Europe.
The arrests also come just nine days after German authorities warned of possible attacks at Italian beaches this summer, which Italian authorities quickly denied.
Yesterday's arrests also follow a series of other arrests in recent months and several threats made against Rome and the Vatican, about which I have written previously.
For more details about the arrests, you can consult these articles:
- Italy nabs four suspected in ISIS plot to attack Israeli embassy, Vatican
- Italy says uncovers possible plot to attack Rome, arrests suspects
- Moroccan kick boxer 'ordered by ISIS to carry out attack in Rome this year' is arrested along with his wife and two others on suspicion of terror offenses
- Italy arrests Islamic State suspects, uncovers attack plot
- Prosecutors Says [sic] IS Ordered Italian Resident to Attack Rome
- Italy Uncovers Islamist Plot to Attack Vatican and Israeli Embassy
- UPDATE: ISIS: Jihadi kickboxer who planned to attack Israeli embassy in Rome is arrested