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Italy arrests three for suicide mission training: report

Police arrested three Moroccans in southern Italy Monday on suspicion of involvement in international terrorism and training others in how to make bombs and suicide explosive belts, Ansa news agency said.

The three men, including an imam and his son, are suspected of downloading documents on weapons and explosives use from jihadist sites though the police investigation, launched in 2007, found no concrete plans for attacks.

The suspects had made DVDs explaining in detail how to make a suicide belt for suicide missions and a device capable of attacking Western military vehicles in Iraq as well as offering advice on techniques for aspiring snipers.

Imam Mohammed Garouan, his 25-year-old son Brahim and 28-year old Yunis Dahhaki had also downloaded details on software capable of sabotaging computer systems, the agency said.

The Moroccans belong to the “Islamic communities in Catanzaro and Lamezia Terme,” in the Calabria region in the south of Italy.

Catanzaro magistrates said the 57-year-old Garouan had used his position as a preacher to call for holy war, surprising some of the faithful with his vehement tirades, according to Ansa.

His son, an IT expert, was thought to have searched for material online and sent encrypted messages hidden in photographs, while the third man, who owns a butcher’s shop, distributed the material to third parties, the agency said.

The investigators said they had wire-tapped conversations in which the butcher called on Allah to “give me the chance to die a martyr.”

Nine other suspects investigated as part of the enquiry are still at liberty.

The inquiry, launched last November, had already led to the arrest of 16 people and brought to light the presence in Catanzaro of cells belonging to the fundamentalist Salafi Group affiliated with Al Qaeda.

Copyright © 2011 AFP

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