Italy breaks two jihadist cells

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Italian police moved in on two jihadist rings accused of raising funding for terrorist attacks. 14 people were arrested in an operation that involved searches in 20 properties in Sardinia and other the northern regions of Lombardy, Veneto, and Emilia-Romagna.

“Two hostile structures have been neutralized,” declared Interior Minister Marco Minniti after the successful arrests.

ANSA reports that the state and finance police broke the cells allegedly linked to Jabhat al-Nusra, a Syrian al-Qaeda group. Investigators say the two cells operated autonomously from each other, but one individual is believed to have had connections with both.

Al-Nusra was the official affiliate of al-Qaeda in Syria before it broke off formal ties with the organisation to merge with other jihadist groups, forming the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham alliance also known as the Organization for the Liberation of the Levant.

National Anti-Mafia and Anti-Terror Prosecutor Federico Cafiero de Raho said the rings funnelled money obtained “largely from clandestine immigration” to Syria. 10 of the arrested are charged with money laundering and transferring illegal payments in Italy, Sweden, Hungary and Turkey; two of them are also accused of funding terrorism.

Sources: ANSA, BBC

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