Two men, one Italian and one Moroccan, were arrested in northern Italy on Wednesday for allegedly training to fight for the Islamic State (IS) radical group in Syria, Italian authorities said.
The operation was ordered by prosecutors in the Sicilian city of Palermo, who charged the two suspects for incitement to terrorism and terrorism self-training, according to police.
The Italian suspect was a 25-year-old truck driver, Giuseppe Frittitta, who was born in Palermo and lived in the northern province of Monza.
According to investigators, he met 18-year-old Moroccan Ossama Gafhir, residing in northwest Novara province, over the Internet, where the two allegedly shared intense propaganda activities in favor of the IS.
“They have trained for months to carry out terrorist attacks, practicing in the use of weapons and sabotage of public services, and they aimed at reaching the necessary physical and military skills to fight alongside ISIS militiamen in Syria,” anti-terrorism DIGOS police said in a statement.
Investigators also explained they believed it was the young Moroccan to convert the Italian suspect to radical Islam in 2017, inducing him to train for combat in the territories where IS fighters are operative.
On various social media, the two allegedly shared radical posts, photos and video of terror attacks, along with material in support of radical Islamic forces (of ISIS in particular), including maps, combat instructions, and propaganda texts.
On the Internet, Frittitta also posted a picture of himself holding a knife with a 26 cm long blade, and calling for “the death of all Westerners”, Ansa news agency reported.
The Italian would also have made contact with other Islamic extremists in Italy and abroad, according to Ansa.
However, the two men were believed to be “lonely wolves” and not members of any larger radical organization or network, according to prosecutors.