Overview: Italy continued aggressively to investigate and prosecute terrorism suspects, dismantle terrorist-related cells within its borders, and maintained high-level professional cooperation with its international partners in all areas. Terrorist activity by anarchists and other violent extremists remained a threat.

2010 Terrorist Incidents: On December 23, letter bombs exploded in the Swiss and Chilean embassies in Rome, wounding two. On December 27, police defused a parcel bomb that was delivered to the Greek embassy. A group called the Informal Anarchist Federation claimed responsibility. On December 29, two small explosive devices caused minor damage to the Northern League party office in the town of Gemonio, province of Varese, near the residence of Northern League party leader and Minister for Federalism Umberto Bossi.

Legislation and Law Enforcement: The Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) began a pilot program testing the use of body scanning devices at four airports. After initial results raised concerns about privacy and accuracy, ENAC began collaborating with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration to identify software that will address the concerns.

The Italian government continued to make use of reinforced counterterrorism legislation enacted in 2005, which facilitated detention of suspects, mandated arrest for crimes involving terrorism, and expedited procedures for expelling persons suspected of terrorist activities.

Italy participated in the Container Security Initiative. On March 29, the U.S. Ambassador to Italy and Italian Customs Agency Director signed a Memorandum of Understanding launching the Megaports Initiative to deploy nuclear material scanners in Italian ports.

Law enforcement actions in 2010 included:

  • On February 25 and 27, 12 Turkish nationals and an Italian were arrested in Venice and Modena. They were accused of training individuals to fight for the Kurdistan Workers' Party.

  • On July 6, a Monza court acquitted two Moroccans, Abdelkader Ghafir and Rahid Ilhami, arrested in December 2008 and charged with international terrorism. They had been accused of allegedly supporting al-Qa'ida and planning violent attacks in Italy. Rahid Ilhami was sentenced to 19 months in jail for abetting illegal immigration.

  • On July 8, a Milan court sentenced 15 Tunisians, Algerians, and Moroccans to prison terms between six months and eight and a half years for international terrorism. Their Milan-based cell recruited followers, maintained contacts with foreign extremists, and planned to send suicide bombers to Iraq and Afghanistan. Ten other persons were acquitted.

  • On July 9, Mohammed Game, who attempted a suicide attack against an Italian army barracks in Milan in October 2009, was sentenced to 14 years in prison and fined 100,000 euros (US$ 142,000). His accomplice, Mahmoud Abdelaziz Kol, received a four-year sentence, while another accomplice, Mohamaed Imbaeya Israfel, awaited trial.

  • On October 2, police arrested Ryad Hannouni in Naples after tips from French police. Hannouni was reported to have traveled from near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and to have carried bomb-making materials on his person when arrested. On November 29, he was transferred to France on a European arrest warrant.

Countering Terrorist Finance: Italy worked closely with the United States on anti-money laundering and information sharing, and cooperated with other foreign governments as an active member of the Financial Action Task Force and the Egmont Group. Italy also participated in the UNSCR 1267 process, both as a sponsoring and co-sponsoring nation.

Regional and International Cooperation: Italy supported counterterrorism efforts through the G8 Lyons-Roma Group (including capacity building through the Counterterrorism Action Group), OSCE, NATO, the UN, and the EU. Italy contributed personnel to various regional training centers, such as the South East Asia Regional Centre on Counterterrorism in Malaysia, the Joint Centre on Law Enforcement Cooperation in Indonesia, and the African Union's Anti-Terrorism Centre in Algeria.

Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: The Ministry of Justice Penitentiary Police started a non-governmental organization-administered counter-radicalization program placing moderate imams in the three prisons where Muslims convicted of terrorism are incarcerated.


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