Italian police arrest Moroccan suspected of Qaeda links
ROME - Police arrested Thursday a Moroccan man suspected of having links to Al-Qaeda and planning attacks on targets including a synagogue in Milan, Italy's counter-terrorism unit said.
"A 20-year-old Moroccan man was arrested at dawn, after investigators discovered messages he had posted on websites talking about a possible attack on sensitive targets," said the unit's head in Cagliari, Alfonso Polverino.
"He had also posted information on how to make explosive devices," he said.
The special operations unit (DIGOS) was tipped off by a US anti-terrorism division that a 20-year-old Moroccan, going by the pseudonym Al-Alamazighi, was in contact with international Al-Qaeda suspects.
"Once we had tracked down the suspect, we were able to access his computer remotely and discovered a video detailing the security situation at the synagogue, including numbers of officers on guard and access routes," he said.
The DIGOS unit in the Sardinian capital of Cagliari then worked together with police on the ground in the northern Italian city of Brescia, where the suspect had lived since he was six years old.
"While at this point we do not think the suspect belongs to a terrorist cell in Italy, we are searching for possible contacts abroad. We will know more once we have looked at the computers that were seized from his house," Polverino added.
In the search for possible accomplices, DIGOS was collaborating with US and British authorities, he said.
Polverino said that police "have arrested a Yemeni woman in London who has been in contact with the Moroccan," though the Metropolitan Police would not confirm her nationality or whether she had been in touch with the suspect.
"At approximately 0430 hours this morning officers from the Metropolitan Police counter terrorism command arrested a 40-year-old woman on suspicion of offences under section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000," a police spokesman said.
"She was arrested in South London and taken to a local police station where she remains in custody. A search warrant was executed at residential premises in connection with the arrest and is ongoing."
"We are liaising with Italian authorities to establish whether there is a link," the spokesman said.