Anti- terrorism police in Italy arrested an immigrant of Moroccan descent who was suspected of planning a terrorist attack involving a truck. Police speculated the truck would have been loaded with explosives and probably detonated in a densely populated area.
The terrorist suspect, Elmahdhi Halili was arrested in the city of Turin. Police further disclosed that their investigations show Halili was a sympathizer of the Islamic State. In 2015, Halili was given a two- year suspended prison sentence for advocating terrorism. Halili ran a website that praised the Islamic State and supported terrorist attacks that were carried throughout Europe.
According to Francesco Messina, Turin’s police chief, the 23- year old Halili was training for the possible terrorist activity:
“Halili was studying how to prepare a truck for an attack. He was learning how to use a knife and looking into where and how to attack.”
Over the last few months, anti- terrorist units of the Italian police force have been busy cracking down on immigrants who were suspected of Islamist terrorist activities.
Italy has increased the number of foreigner expulsions. As of now, 29 foreigners have been expelled. Most of them are Muslim. In 2017, Italy expelled 132 foreigners suspected of having terrorist links.
Terrorist acts have been increasing in Europe. In 2016, suspected Islamic militants shot several people in Nice and Berlin. Then in 2017, terrorist groups were behind three vehicle attacks in London.
Far- Right League Party member, Matteo Salvini said the government should no longer ignore the correlation between the rise in terrorist attacks and migrant arrivals:
“The terrorist risk is very high. We want immediate action, so everyone who crosses our borders by sea or land be monitored and that all migrant boat arrivals on our coasts be suspended.”
Reports show that in 2017, almost 120,000 migrants from North Africa arrived in Italy.
Police likewise arrested an undisclosed number of immigrant and Italian accomplices in their March 28 operations. According to initial reports, many of those arrested had just converted to Islam and were on a mission to radicalize other people.
Interior Minister Marco Minniti revealed that members of the Islamic State were trying to return to Europe after facing defeat in Syria and Iraq.
Last March 27, Police arrested an immigrant from Egypt in Southern Foggia. The suspect was said to be a member of the Islamic State and was in the process of converting children to extremism in the cultural center he managed. Police said the man was encouraging the children to kill non- Muslims.