Europe: the newest recruiting ground for the jihad. By Sean O”Neill and Richard Owen in the Times (thanks to Sr. Soph):
Two suspected jihadi recruiters were arrested in dawn raids yesterday over their alleged involvement in a Europe-wide network enlisting young men to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Ali Ben Zidane Chehidi, 34, and Mohamed Salah Ben Hamadi Khemiri, 53, both Tunisians, were detained at their homes in London and Manchester. The swoop was part of a coordinated operation led by Italian antiterrorist police aimed at breaking up a sophisticated recruitment organisation. Some 20 suspects, mostly of North African origin, were picked up in further raids in Italy, France and Portugal.
Mr Chehidi was arrested in Purley, South London, by officers from Scotland Yard’s extradition unit assisted by Counter Terrorism Command. Another team from the extradition squad, backed up by antiterrorist officers from Greater Manchester Police, detained Mr Khemiri in the Cheetham Hill area of Manchester.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “The two men were arrested on behalf of the Italian authorities under an extradition warrant in relation to allegations that between 2003 and 2005 they forged documents to facilitate the illegal entry into Italy of recruited volunteers to fight jihad in Iraq and Afganistan.” The two men face proceedings to extradite them to Italy, where the authorities said the raids were the culmination of a four-year investigation.