Now remember, this has nothing to do with Islam, you Islamophobe. “Italy breaks up European terror cell,” by Colleen Barry for the Associated Press:
MILAN, Italy – A Europe-wide sweep disrupted an Islamic cell that was recruiting potential suicide bombers for attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan, Italian police said Tuesday, announcing the arrests of 20 terror suspects.
Police said the suspects, mostly Tunisians, were arrested across Europe as part
of the sweep against a cell based in the northern Italian region of Lombardy.
Executing the arrest warrants, police said they found al-Qaida manuals for making explosives, detonation devices and poisons, and instructions on guerrilla techniques.
“The investigation has revealed recruitment, training a nd passage to aspiring terrorists to Iraq and Afghanistan,” lead investigator Gen. Giampoaolo Ganzer, of Italy’s paramilitary Carabinieri police, told a news conference.
The suspects were wanted on charges ranging from association with the aim of
committing international terrorism to falsifying documents to aid illegal immigrants.
“Once more, the central role of Milan and Lombardy in the panorama of Islamic
militants has been confirmed,” the Carabinieri said in a statement.
The group’s members had been indoctrinated in militancy in mosques since at
least 1998, according to police transcripts, and appeared to take serious precautions.
In one intercepted call, a suspected cell member said that “things are being
done with extreme calm, haste does not bring the desired results.”
Eleven were arrested in the northern Italian cities of Milan, Reggio Emilia, Imperia and Bergamo. Nine others were arrested on warrants issued in France, Britain and Portugal, Italian news agencies reported.
Authorities in Britain, France and Portugal confirmed arrests.
The Lombardy cell had ties with a group in neighboring Emilia Romagna whose aim is to establish an Islamic state extending from Morocco to China, Italian investigators said. Intercepted phone calls made clear the aim of sending jihadist fighters to Iraq via Syria, including specific instructions on shaving off beards before departure to give the impression of making a “peaceful trip.”
A “peaceful trip,” for an “inner spiritual struggle.”
Ganzer said that while the main aim of the group were attacks aimed at western
targets in Iraq and Afghanistan, they also had ties to groups that planned attacks in Italy. Police said the Milan-based cell helped a Tunisian involved in planning a failed attack in Bologna flee to France in 2006. The attack was meant to be carried out around Italy’s national elections in April 2006, police said.
In Britain, authorities said two suspects were arrested in London and Manchester and face extradition to Italy. The men, identified as Ali Chehidi, 34, and Mohamed Khermiri, 53, were accused of forging documents to help volunteers enter Italy illegally.
Portuguese police said they arrested a North African in the northern Portuguese city of Porto on suspicion of international terrorism, illegal immigration and smuggling. He had been in Portugal for three years and had a Portuguese residence permit allowing travel within Europe’s Schengen area.