Moroccan arrested in Italy for suspected bid to join Islamic State

Italy's police said Monday it arrested a 25-year-old Moroccan man on terrorism charges, suspecting that the man had attempted to travel to Syria to join Islamic State militias and was set to try again.

The ANSA news agency named the suspect as Hamil Mehdi, and reported that he lived in Luzzi, a small town in the southern region of Calabria, with his parents and four brothers, all of whom had legal residency papers.

Mehdi was placed under surveillance in July, when he left Italy for Turkey, but was swiftly returned to Rome after Turkish authorities flagged him up as a national security threat, an Italian police statement said.

Police, who broke into the suspect's home in an overnight raid, said they had grounds to believe that the man's final destination would have been Syria, where he intended "to fight alongside [Islamic State] guerrillas."

Ensuing investigations have revealed "his compulsive search, through the internet, of Islamic State propaganda documents and videos" on suicide bombing and guerrilla fighting, Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said separately.

Alfano said police noted that the man had become estranged from the local Moroccan community and embraced "a very rigid practice of Koranic precepts," adding that such behaviour is normally associated with people who become radicalized.

Quoting investigative sources, ANSA also said the suspect had expressed the intention to move to Belgium, a country known to have had terrorist recruiting cells and where plans for the November Islamist strikes on Paris were allegedly hatched.

Last update: Mon, 25/01/2016 - 13:44

More from Europe

Austria's Green candidate for president defeats far-right rival

Austrians opted for a pro-European president by electing Green candidate Alexander Van der Bellen on Sunday with 53....

Hero to zero? Italy's Renzi puts career on the line in referendum

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi risks becoming Europe's youngest political has-been if Sunday's constitutional...

Ten facts about Italy's constitutional referendum

Italians will vote Sunday on a constitutional referendum that could result in major institutional changes or trigger...

Austrian presidential candidates optimistic as country repeats vote

The far-right and Green contenders for the Austrian presidency were both optimistic on Sunday as citizens cast their...

Van der Bellen, a fervent European with an immigrant background

Green presidential candidate Alexander Van der Bellen looked very presidential in May when he declared his election...