Milan the scene of arrests, expulsions.
“The threat of jihadist terrorism remains high in our country,” said Milan prosecutor general Roberto Alfonso on 27 January at the ceremonial inauguration of the judicial year, an occasion traditionally reserved for a round-up of recent developments and the current situation.
“The urge to strike at Italy has been expressed by the leaders of the so-called Islamic State in several proclamations,” Alfonso added, “and confirmed by [our] investigations.”
The prosecutor general reminded his audience of city and regional authorities of the gunfight in December 2016 in which police in Milan suburb Sesto S. Giovanni killed Tunisian Anis Amri. He had murdered 12 people and injured 56 more only four days earlier, driving a truck into a Berlin Christmas market.
Alfolso’s warnings were repeated by prosecutors and judges across Italy during other regional ceremonies, in particular by Palermo Appeals Court president Matteo Frasca. Frasca, too, announced that investigations were concentrated on people suspected of joining integralist groups, on recruitment and propaganda, and on external support to terrorist organisations by phone centres and money transfer shops.
Alfonso’s Milan audience was all too aware of recent cases which had been widely reported. Earlier this month, a 35-year-old Tunisian was charged in Milan Assize Court after “cyber police” caught him publishing recruitment videos of battles, executions and militiamen at prayer or speaking with their faces covered with black hoods.
And a family of Egyptian nationals had been uncovered by Milan’s DIGOS police in Como province only two days before and charged with support of terrorism. The mother, waiting for her naturalisation papers, was expatriated, while arrest warrants were issued for the father and one son, the latter currently fighting for Daesh (the self-proclaimed Islamic state) in Syria and believed to be about to return to Italy.