U.S. Department of State Country Reports on Terrorism 2005 - Italy

Italy worked to fight terrorism within its borders, cooperated internationally, and participated in Coalition activities with a strong military presence in peacekeeping operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Italy's law enforcement authorities maintained an initiative against locally based terrorist suspects through investigations, detentions, prosecutions, and expulsions. In extensive raids throughout Italy on May 18-19, law enforcement officials arrested 18 individuals associated with the Moroccan Islamic Combat Group and Ansar al-Islam. After the July 7 bombings in London, Italian law enforcement officials detained multiple terrorist suspects and quickly passed enhanced counterterrorism legislation that increased the government's ability to expel extremists considered a threat to national security, authorized improved surveillance techniques, and brought Internet operators under state supervision.

Italy expelled 13 individuals in the interest of national security, including Turin-based Imam Bouchta Bouriki. The closely coordinated investigation, arrest, and extradition of failed London suicide bomber Hamdi Isaac is an example of effective international cooperation. Law enforcement authorities arrested Casablanca bombing suspect El Bahri Abdelouahed on May 9. Italy has submitted more names of suspected terrorist financiers to the UN 1267 Committee than any country other than the United States.

A controversial judicial decision to release three suspected terrorists, on the grounds that their activities to recruit fighters for the insurgency in Iraq did not "necessarily constitute terrorist activity," complicated the government's aggressive campaign to pursue terrorist suspects and resulted in calls for increased coordination of national terrorism prosecutions.

Domestic anarchist-inspired terrorist groups presented a diminished threat as a result of Italian authorities' continued efforts to dismantle their organizations. However, the Informal Anarchic Federation claimed responsibility for a series of small package bombs causing minimal damage. Extremist groups protesting a high-speed train line between Turin and Lyon, France, caused considerable disruption and also threatened violence.


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