Italy Arrests 28 Pakistanis in Al-Qaeda Linked Bust

Friday, January 31st, 2003

Wow. Italy Arrests 28 Pakistanis in Al-Qaeda Linked Bust reports some scary (but good) news:

Military police burst into an apartment in central Naples on Wednesday night as part of a routine sweep against illegal immigration and ended up discovering enough explosives to blow up a three-story building, officials said on Friday.

They arrested all 28 men staying in the apartment after finding 800 grams (28 ounces) of explosives, 230 feet of fuse and various electronic detonators crammed behind a false wall.

Islamic religious texts, photos of “jihad” (holy war) martyrs, piles of false documents, maps of the Naples area, addresses of contacts around the world and more than 100 mobile telephones were also found in the run-down lodgings, police said.

I’m perplexed by the Pakistani ambassador’s response:

Pakistan’s ambassador to Italy, Zafar Hilali, denied the men were terrorists and said the arrests appeared to form part of a campaign of targeting innocent Pakistanis living in Italy.

“According to my information none of (these men) had anything whatsoever to do with terrorism, none of them had anything like explosives,” he told Pakistan TV.


  1. DLR says:

    How does one find something “crammed behind a false wall” during a “routine sweep against illegal immigration”? How would the police even discover that a false wall was present? Either the police are lying about the level of knowledge they had going into the raid, or it is normal police procedures to…take explosive sniffing dogs along with them? During routine sweeps against illegal immigration? Maybe dogs trained to detect drugs and explosives? Sounds like something that would be illegal in the US, but maybe not illegal in Italy.

    Also, 28 men living in one apartment?!

    Was this typical of how people lived in the poorer quarters of Italy in 2003? Or were the terrorists just oblivious to the fact that such unusual behavior would attract a great deal of attention?

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