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31 January, 2018
Interpol lists 50 suspected ISIL fighters in Italy: report
Photo: A member of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces removes an Islamic State flag in Tabqa, Syria on April 30, 2017 | Delil Souleiman/AFP via Getty Images
The suspects are all Tunisian nationals, according to International police organization.
Interpol believes 50 suspected Islamic State fighters arrived in Sicily by boat between July and October 2017, the Guardian reported Wednesday.
The international police organization shared the list of suspects with the Italian interior ministry last November. The document shows the first names, surnames and dates of birth of 50 suspected members of the terrorist organization, all of whom are Tunisian nationals.
The suspects, believed to have arrived in Sicily between July and October 2017, may attempt to reach other European countries, the agency warned. Four suspects are already known to European intelligence agencies, and one is believed to have already crossed the border into France, according to the Guardian’s report.
Italian authorities have used naval patrols to prevent landings on the Sicilian coast, which has become a popular landing point for Tunisian migrants attempting to reach Europe. According to a report by the European Council on Foreign Relations, 4,500 Tunisians reached Italian shores last year, a fourfold increase over 2016.
“Investigators cannot exclude that, behind these ghost journeys, they may be jihadi loyalists hidden amongst the people travelling into Sicily,” Agrigento’s chief prosecutor said.
“We do not know what they were doing before they got here, we do not really know who they are and where they were before they arrived in Sicily,” Salvatore Vella, a prosecutor in Agrigento, told the Guardian.
Some don’t want to be identified. “For this reason, if you are terrorist, illegally landing in Agrigento is the safest way to get to Europe,” Vella said.
Interpol released a similar list in July, which included 173 suspected ISIL fighters in Italy it believed were trained to mount suicide attacks in Europe.