The 21st Century Phenomenon



Italian police said, on Monday 10/02/2006, they had broken up an Islamic radical cell that gave financial and logistic support to suspect members of GSPC outlawed rebel movement in Algeria.

Working in cooperation with Swiss police, who arrested a Tunisian suspect Mejri Afif, also known as Lofti, 43, near Zurich, Italian authorities charged two other Algerians, Yacine Ahmed Nacer, 39, and El Heit Ali, 36, already in prison since 05/2005 for weapons trafficking aimed at supporting terrorist groups (see – G.S.P.C cell members).

Italy also issued international arrest warrants for three Algerian suspects identified as Rabah Bouras, 44; Lamine Ahmed Nacer, 35, probably a relative of Yacine Ahmed Nacer; and Farid Aider, 41. The three are fugitives and are believed to have left Europe already in 2005. They also wanted on the more serious criminal association with terrorism charges.

The action was the culmination of an operation begun with the Milan 03 Cell to break up the cell of 14 members, based in Milan and suspected of having sent nearly two million Euro to the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat ( GSPC ), Algeria’s largest outlawed rebel movement.

Italian police spokesman told a news conference that the cell was part of a wider network operating in Belgium, France, Spain, Switzerland (see – Geneva El-Al Plot) and the United Kingdom.

The operation has already led to the arrest of two people, including Djamel Lounici in 04/2004, considered to be the leader of the cell. In July, police arrested four suspected members of the GSPC believed to be preparing attacks in Algeria and Iraq (see – North Italian Network).

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