Police arrested a 26-year-old Macedonian, who reportedly named Abdula Kurtishi and escaped from prison in his country, after he was found to have false documents, ANSA news agency reported.
Investigators said the man had ties with another Macedonian, Vulnet Maqelara, who was nicknamed Carlito Brigande and currently in jail after being arrested in Rome in November last year, and Firas Barhoumi, a 29-year-old Tunisian and foreign fighter who is currently in Iraq. Arrest warrants have been issued for them.
“I will take a car with some explosives to carry out an attack against the unfaithful,” Barhoumi was quoted as saying in a message sent from Iraq to Maqelara just days before the latter’s arrest.
Investigators said Maqelara was about to head for Iraq to join the Islamic State (IS) terrorists.
“Everything will be fine, if you want to come here I can arrange everything for you … You just need to make a plan and have a false document so that you can leave,” the Tunisian reportedly told the Macedonian. He also added that he was ready to postpone the suicide attack to wait for Maqelara to join him.
Saturday’s operation followed another one carried out by Italian police who arrested a Somali asylum seeker earlier this week. The asylum seeker was suspected of planning a terrorist attack at the Rome railway station.
The 22-year-old asylum seeker, an imam, was being hosted at a migrant reception facility in central Italy where he was allegedly trying to convince the other migrants to carry out jihad.
A total of 259 extremists were arrested and 489 people investigated in Italy in 2015, according to a report released by the Italian interior ministry.
In recent months, Italy has strengthened security measures in the wake of the attacks in Paris on Nov. 13, 2015 and a warning from American intelligence services that the country’s iconic venues could become the targets of terrorists. Enditem