Three arrested during crackdown on would-be jihadists

(AGI) Brescia, Mar 25 - Police in Italy have arrested three menas part of a crackdown on Muslims trying to flee to fight inSyria. A fourth man is already said to be in Syria, and eightsearches have been carried out in Lombardy, Piedmont andTuscany. Operation Balkan Connection, coordinated by thecentral anti-terrorism service of the Central PoliceDirectorate for Crime Prevention/Central Security OperationsService (UCIGOS) and the General Investigations and SpecialOperations Division (DIGOS) in Brescia, uncovered a cellrecruiting young men as jihadists. Police in Turin, Como andMassa Carrara were also involved in the

(AGI) Brescia, Mar 25 - Police in Italy have arrested three menas part of a crackdown on Muslims trying to flee to fight inSyria. A fourth man is already said to be in Syria, and eightsearches have been carried out in Lombardy, Piedmont andTuscany. Operation Balkan Connection, coordinated by thecentral anti-terrorism service of the Central PoliceDirectorate for Crime Prevention/Central Security OperationsService (UCIGOS) and the General Investigations and SpecialOperations Division (DIGOS) in Brescia, uncovered a cellrecruiting young men as jihadists. Police in Turin, Como andMassa Carrara were also involved in the operation. DIGOS chiefGiovanni De Stavola said that had they not intervened, manymore young people might have been recruited. Deputy ProsecutorLesti said the group had been homing in on second-generationItalians. Those arrested include the author of the firstItalian document published by Islamic State (IS), posted on theweb under the heading "Islamic State, a reality that wants tocommunicate." He is a 20-year-old Italian citizen of Moroccanorigin, a resident in the province of Turin, and has beencharged with incitement to terrorism, aggravated by Internetuse. The other two are Albanians. Alban Haki Elezi, 38, wasarrested in Albania, and his nephew in Turin. Both were accusedof recruitment for the purposes of terrorism, and are said tohave identified an aspiring fighter, a very young Italian ofTunisian origin, living in the province of Como. He was still aminor when first approached via the Internet and, althoughnervous at first, had been slowly convinced to join Abu BakriAl Baghdadi's Caliphate. He will now be subject to specialpublic security surveillance. His travel documents have beenconfiscated. The investigation was sparked by the case of AnasEl Abboubi, a young Moroccan living in the Brescia area, whowas arrested in 2013, only to be freed on appeal, whereupon heleft for Syria to join jihadist fighters. He is said to be thepoint of contact with the men arrested on Wednesday. This isthe first time the crime of recruitment has been contested inItaly. Videos were screened during a press conference at thepublic prosecutor's office, showing material posted on the webportraying a positive image of Islamic State with a view totesting likely propensity towards Jihad. (AGI) .