Two suspected terrorists, a Moroccan and a Bangladeshi, have been expelled from Italy on Dec. 2, according to the Italian Ministry of Interior.

For what concerns the first terrorist, the Italian Ministry revealed it’s Mohamed Bendafi, a 24 years old Moroccan citizen living in Turin, in the northern portion of Italy. According to the authorities, the man has been expelled because he was active in the online jihadist radicalization. More in the specific, the Italian Carabinieri’s Special Operations Group (Raggruppamento Operativo Speciale – ROS) inquiries showed that Bendafi was active on social media, where he shared jihadist propaganda videos, then removed from the social networks since they were explicitly inviting potential combatants to join jihadist groups in Syria.

The investigations over Bendafi started in 2017, with the ongoing relative criminal proceeding in Turin. According to what emerged, Bendafi underwent a process of radicalization and was in contact with another Moroccan citizen, already arrested in April 2017 by the Carabinieri Special Operation Group within the context of the “JBook First” Operation. This operation led the Moroccan citizen to be arrested for participating in a terrorist group and for entrapment.

For what concerns the second terrorist, Jounayed Ahmed, he’s a 19 years old citizen of Bangladesh who was preaching as a radical imam in a cultural association in Padua, in the North of Italy, where he lived. More in the specific, the Italian Ministry revealed that Ahmed was an imam and a religion teacher for the “Bangladesh Cultural Center” of Padua. On Nov. 14, DIGOS put the man under house arrest, after the Padua’s GIP issued a home detention agreement since he was investigating on reports he had about the use of violence against children who went to the Bangladesh Cultural Center and on their maltreatment.

More in detail, according to the authorities’ reconstructions, Ahmed and a second imam from Bangladesh, who has been put under arrest with the same claims, often maltreated and beaten the children who were studying Islamic religion at the Bangladesh Cultural Center of Padua. Moreover, according to the authorities, Ahmed was preaching and teaching a radical interpretation of Islam.

Terrorism, according to the European Agency of law enforcement cooperation, Europol, latest report of trends and the European situation referring to terrorism, still is a challenge and keeps posing threats to the majority of EU Member States.

More in the specific, according to the data revealed by the report, in 2018 EU States have been targeted with a total of 129 attacks, including those that have been completed, foiled, and failed. The European countries that have been attacked the most in 2018 are the United Kingdom, with 60 attacks, France, where there have been 30 attacks, and Italy, with 13 attacks.

The jihadist terrorism caused the death of 13 people in the EU, in a total of 7 jihadist attacks. In the previous year, jihadist attacks were 10, so in 2018 there has been a 30% decrease in terms of attacks, and they made 62 people die. In 2018, also, EU Member States have foiled 16 attacks. According to data on foreign fighters, Europol reported that the number of European citizens who abandon their countries to move to conflict areas – or those who go back to their home European countries -, has been very low in 2018. This is partly due to the fact that in 2018 Europe-based terrorists were more focused on planning attacks within the EU territory.

The right-wing extremist terrorism is the second threat to Europe. More in the specific, Europol reported that right-wing extremism is growing for the third year in a row and that in 2018 these extremists planned an attack in Italy. Furthermore, many militants have been arrested in the territories of several EU countries.

Extreme-left terrorism also is a factor of concern in Europe. However, this kind of terrorism has only be reported by Greece, Italy, and Spain. These countries have arrested several extreme-left militants in 2018.

Focusing on Italy, Europol announced that Italy arrested 56 terrorists in 2018, 4 of which have been arrested under the accusation of sending funds in Syria. According to the authorities, those funds were obtained partly with spontaneous donations, and partly with the incomes of migrant smuggling from the Middle East. According to the investigations, money was directed to a terrorist organization that was active in Syria and was an al-Qaeda’s affiliate. Moreover, a factor of concern in Italy, according to Europol, is radicalization in prisons, where, in 2018, authorities registered an increase in the number of detainees who were supporters of the Islamic State.

Finally, for what concerns the expulsions, the Italian Ministry of Interior revealed that from Jan. 1, 2015 to Dec. 2, 2019, Italy expelled 454 suspected terrorists. Of these, 19 have been expelled in 2019. In 2018, the total amount of expulsions was 126, 21 more if compared to the previous year, when 105 suspected terrorists were expelled from Italy.

 

This article was firstly published on Dec. 3, 2019.

Jasmine Ceremigna