Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Italy Arrests Four Men Accused of Funding Mumbai Terror Attacks

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Italy Arrests Four Men Accused of Funding Mumbai Terror Attacks

Article excerpt

Brescia is a quiet town east of Milan and few would think of it as a hot spot for international terrorism. Yet Italian authorities believe that last year's terror attack in Mumbai (Bombay), where 173 people lost their lives, was partially planned from there.

On Saturday night, Italian police arrested two Pakistani nationals, Mohammad Yaqub Janjua and his son Aamar, on charges they helped pay for the attack. The two own "Madina Trading," a money transfer agency, which made it easy for them to send large amounts of currency abroad without attracting attention. Authorities became suspicious when they learned that 400,000 euros ($599,000) were transferred to a false name.

"This operation confirms that terrorism is a global threat," said Foreign Minister Franco Frattini. "Yet it also demonstrates our police forces are able to face it."

The police announced they arrested other two Pakistani men in Brescia. The pair are accused of breaking immigration laws, but police suspect that they, too, supported the Mumbai attacks. A fifth man is currently on the run.

Local authorities say these arrests are part of the growing body of evidence that northern Italy has become a fund-raising spot for international terrorist organizations.

Earlier this month, a judge in Milan issued 17 arrest warrants for people accused of raising 1 million euros ($1.49 million) to fund terrorist activities in Algeria. Six of them were arrested in Italy, the others were detained as part of a Pan-European operation.

In recent years, a number of North African immigrants in the Milan area have been arrested on suspicion of raising funds for Al Qaeda. A few of these cases have developed into international disputes.

Tunisian-born Riadh Nasri and Moez Fezzani, who where held for years by the US in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are accused of having raised funds for Al Qaeda from 1997 to 2001 in Milan. …

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