Authorities arrested a 25 year-old Moroccan man in the Italian region of Calabria Monday who was suspected of preparing a terrorist attack on Italy, local news outlets reported. While the man denied allegiance to the Islamic terrorists known as the Islamic State group or ISIS, terrorist training manuals were found in his home.
The unnamed suspect had been under surveillance since July after he attempted to enter Turkey and authorities suspected he then planned on crossing into Syria to rejoin ISIS. He told border police he was going to Turkey "to pray," according to a report in the Local.
Italy has been facing an elevated terror threat since Nov. 13, 2015 attacks on Paris that sent shockwaves throughout Europe. At least eight Islamic terrorists pledging allegiance to ISIS descended upon the French capital, carrying out a spate of assaults on bars, cafes and other scenes of Parisian nightlife, leaving 130 dead.
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All of the known attackers in Paris were French or Belgian nationals, and the attack has raised concerns throughout Europe of European nationals or permanent residents carrying out acts of terrorism on their home soil. The suspect in Calabria, while not an Italian national, had a residence permit and had been living in Italy since 2006, according to the Local.
ISIS threatened Italy directly in a video released Nov. 16, just days after the Paris attacks. “By Allah, you will have a day like that of France. By Allah, if we brought down France in its homeland, in Paris, then we swear, by the command of Allah, we will attack America in its heartland, in Washington, Allah permitting, and we will invade Rome, Allah permitting,” a militant said in a video released by the group, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Italy’s counter-terrorism unit Divos has stepped up its efforts in the past months, conducting dozens of raids. The system is poorly funded, however, and often relies on information from the FBI and other larger intelligence services.