Venice, Feb 26 (IANS/AKI) Police arrested a Macedonian man accused of recruiting jihadists for the Islamic State militant group during a raid at an apartment on Friday in Mestre near Italy’s northeastern city of Venice.
The unnamed suspect was “in charge of selecting and recruiting aspiring jihadists in Italy… who were then to be passed on to a Bosnian imam to be radicalised, enrolled in IS and transferred to a Middle Eastern war zone,” investigators said.
Two other Macedonians, Arslan Osmanoski and Redjep Lijmani, were recently expelled from northeast Italy over their alleged involvement in a ‘jihadist’ recruitment drive. A Moroccan citizen, Jaffar Anass, was also served with an expulsion order from northeast Italy although it emerged he had earlier returned to his homeland.
The deportations followed an investigation prompted by evidence that three alleged jihadists from Macedonia and Bosnia travelled from Italy to Syria were killed there in battle between 2013 and 2014.
Lijmani was deported in January after his eight-year-old son in November praised IS’s terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 130 people and reportedly told classmates: “Long live IS. Now we’re going to Rome to kill the Pope!”
Dozens of suspected Islamist radicals to have been banished from Italy over the past year, according to Interior Minister Angelino Alfano.