A young Muslim cleric who came to Europe as a refugee has been arrested for allegedly planning an attack on Rome’s iconic central train station.
by, Oli Smith | The Express – UK
The dramatic arrest took place at a refugee centre, where he had become known to speak frequently in support of Islamic State (ISIS) – also known as Daesh.
Staff at the refugee camp had overheard the young cleric, whose name has not been disclosed, even encouraging refugees to join the jihad.
Counter-terror police described his “intense and vehement proselytism” among migrants for extremism at the migrant reception centre in Campobasso, southern Italy.
The Wednesday arrest was also made on the very day the imam planned to go to Rome and carry out the attack on the Termini train station.
Video courtesy of: News News
Italian investigators revealed that the imam was heard saying: “Charlie Hebdo was just the beginning, the war continues.”
Intelligence services had worked for two months gathering in-depth information on the young man’s radical views, using both phone tapping and hidden cameras.
The Somalian man urged fellow refugees to become “matyrs for Islam” and suggested instead of fire arms, “there’s an easier way to equip a bomb and to blow yourself up.”
He added: “So take advantage of this month, and race to be the first.
“God has ordered us to kill his enemies and make jihad in his name, preach religion and Sharia and punish the sinner.
“Let’s start from Italy, let’s go to Rome and start with the station.”
According to the charges brought against him, the young Somali also sang the praises of al-Qaeda and al Shabaab.
He praised the gunmen involved in the Paris attacks on November 13 2015, which left 130 dead.
The cleric’s views were so extreme that many worshipers opted to drop out of his services, according to the police.
The imam had recently been denied refugee status and would have had to leave the migrant centre soon.
Italy’s law enforcement have been on high alert since Rome was mentioned among the targets in an ISIS video released shortly after the Paris terror attacks.
In January, Italian police arrested a 25-year-old Moroccan man who was suspected of preparing a terrorist attack – with jihadi training manuals found in his home.
Italian Minister of the Interior Angelino Alfano said the latest arrest shows the counter-terrorism system “works”.
He added: “We have a very strict, technically equipped monitoring system in all the centers and places where proselytism can occur and where recruiting could theoretically take place.”
However, Matteo Salvini of Italy’s Northern League Party said that Italy was in heightened danger of attacks precisely because of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s weak immigration policies.
He said: “Renzi is an accomplice in this! If I were in his place, there would be blanket controls and mass deportations.”
Italy is currently hosting 100,000 migrants who crossed the Mediterranean sea from Libya, as part of the biggest refugee crisis faced by Europe since the Second World War.