Italian counter-terrorism police arrest Tunisian radical Islamist

A Tunisian national suspected of being a member of a radical Islamist organization has been arrested in Italy, counter-terrorism police said on Tuesday.

Police said the 33-year-old suspect, who had previously been convicted for theft, had ties to al-Qaeda affiliate Ansar al-Sharia.

A search of his home in the town of Ciampino near Rome's second-largest airport had also turned up a flag of the Islamic State extremist militia, as well as 30 stolen mobile phones.

As part of the same anti-terrorism operation at dawn on Tuesday, police searched the premises of several suspects in the Lazio region, where Rome is located.

The arrested suspect first came to the attention of law enforcement in 2014 after police found a loaded gun, knives and balaclavas in his car, Deputy Police Commissioner Mauro Fabozzi said.

During a three-year prison sentence for theft, he also actively tried to convert other inmates to extremist views.

"He sometimes succeeded in radicalizing other inmates, and incited them to attack Catholic detainees," another Digos officer said.

The suspect has been living in Italy since 2008 and has a young daughter with his wife, an Italian convert to Islam, police said.

Last update: Tue, 10/01/2017 - 16:16

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