Skip to comments.Italian Police Arrest 28 Pakistanis, Find Explosives, Forged Documents, Maps
Posted on 01/31/2003 10:48:24 AM PST by Stultis
The Associated Press
|NAPLES, Italy Jan. 31
Police arrested 28 Pakistanis found in possession of explosives, hundreds of forged documents and maps of the Naples area with "sensitive targets" circled, authorities said Friday.
In a statement, police said they had uncovered an "al-Qaida terrorist cell," but gave no further details on the Pakistanis' alleged involvement with al-Qaida or any other international terrorist group.
A police official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said late Friday officers "might have gotten ahead of themselves" in announcing an al-Qaida link in the headline of their news release.
The official also dismissed Italian news reports that the Pakistanis belonged to the militant Islamic group Islamic Jihad. He said any links between those arrested and international terrorist groups still had to be verified.
Police said they picked up the 28 Pakistanis, aged 20-48, during a routine search in Naples on Thursday for illegal immigrants.
During the raid of an apartment in the city center, they uncovered 2 pounds of dynamite, 165 feet of explosive fuse and various types of detonators, the police statement said.
Another police official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the combination of the materials "could have imploded a 10-story building." Police said the dynamite plus the chemicals used in the explosive fuse produced 3.3 pounds of T4, a powerful explosive even in small amounts.
The official said police also uncovered maps of Naples with "sensitive" targets circled. He refused to elaborate.
Italian news reports citing unidentified sources said the areas marked included the U.S. Consulate in Naples and NATO bases in nearby Bagnoli and Capodichino.
NATO had no immediate comment.
The U.S. Embassy was briefed on the arrests and was monitoring it closely, a U.S. official said.
Police also found hundreds of forged identity documents, hundreds of cell phones, an index of thousands of international telephone contacts and addresses, and instruction manuals on how to forge identity documents, the statement said.
In addition, religious texts in Pakistan's Urdu language and other documents were found in the apartment, as well as photos of "martyrs of the Jihad," the police statement said.
The Pakistanis have been charged with several terrorism-related crimes, the statement said.
Italian authorities over the past several months have arrested several dozen people suspected of links with international terrorism. Most of the attention has focused on suspected cells linked to al-Qaida in northern Italy, particularly Milan and Bologna.
State-run RAI television said Friday authorities were also investigating a suspected al-Qaida cell in the northern city of Turin.
The Rome daily La Repubblica reported Friday that Italian police who interviewed detainees at the U.S. base in Guantanamo, Cuba, in June spoke to two men who said they had been part of a Turin cell. But the newspaper said the Turin prosecutor has not issued any arrest warrants, apparently because of lack of firm evidence.
The Italian Interior Ministry acknowledged in January that its officials had traveled to Guantanamo to interview detainees who had lived in Italy and subsequently been picked up in Afghanistan during fighting as part of its own crackdown on suspected terrorist groups in Italy.
Last year, seven Tunisians were convicted in Milan of helping suspected al-Qaida recruits obtain false documents. Among them was Essid Sami Ben Khemais, whom Italian authorities believe was sent to Italy to oversee Osama bin Laden's operations in Europe.
None of those arrested have been accused of any direct links to the Sept. 11 attacks.
The latter ought to be particularly interesting.
Right. They could be peace activists.
That bears repeating, just to make sure the dim lurkers understand:
DURING A ROUTINE SEARCH FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS
Thank God this happened in Italy,which was recently described by leftist Columnist Robert Scheer as being one of a "motley collection of nations one can buy on Ebay"
I suppose Scheer likes to vacation in France.
Yes, my sister-in-law was considering a job offer for the fleet's day-care services.
I'm sending her this thread.
Just so we all know who are friends in Europe are, the 'Motley Crew of Eight' consist of:
England, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain.
I also wish them no harm. But I fear it may take a deadly operation in Europe, to wake up some of the oh, so enlightened, Euro's.
Yes. It would be expected to be a departure point for naval units heading for Iraq
The mission of NRCC Naples is to provide fleet and base support for US Navy, Military Sealift and Coast Guard ships; US bases and facilities located in Europe, Africa and Southwest Asia; contingency operations; and continental US activities requiring supplies and services from Europe, Africa and Southwest Asia.