Two Afghan citizens were arrested in Bari on charges of international terrorism and three more people are being sought after. According to investigations coordinated by the District Anti-Mafia Directorate (DDA) of Bari, the three of them were planning attacks in Italy and England and were part of a terrorist cell connected to the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. There would be five people in the terrorist cell, two or three of whom seem to have already left for Afghanistan. The investigations began on 16 December last year, after an intervention of the Police in a mall in Bari to control four foreign suspects who had been signaled. One of them was making a video of the shopping center with his phone.
Prosecutors Giuseppe Drago and Roberto Rossi have charged the arrested, one of whom was hosted in RCAS– Bari Palese Reception Centre for Asylum Seekers, run by the Social Cooperative ‘‘Auxilium’’ – with “preparation and execution of terrorist actions to be carried out against governments , military forces, institutions, international organizations, citizens and other civilian targets.” Their phones contained images of weapons. Taliban militants, audio files of prayers and radical Islamic indoctrination, video tributes to relatives and friends held in the Guantanamo prison.
Among the materials found in their possession there were also images of inspections conducted in ports, airports, malls, and hotels and videos made inside the Bari Palese airport. “Having no touristic value, these photos can be read – according to the Prosecutor of Bari – as the inspections the terrorist cell conducted in order to carry out attacks.” Among these images there are also the Circus Maximus, the Colosseum, and several sites in London: West India Quay shopping center, apartments, a cinema, a spa, a restaurant, a luxury hotel, and the Sunborn Yacht Hotel in Royal Victoria Dock. One of the phones contained also a caricature of US President Barack Obama as a donkey. According to investigators, these images symbolize anti-Western hatred, like the picture of one of the suspects in the act of showing his middle finger to a photo of Malala, the Nobel Peace Prize winner.
“The terrorist cell – reads the detention order – spread the violent ideology of the holy war and fighting techniques (operating manuals, guides to manufacturing explosives) on the Internet. This significant amount of data in their possession was ready to be used.” Besides, – we learn – a color photo that combines two nighttime images of two symbolic places respectively for Islamic and Western cultures: the Al-Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The first one had a blue background, “a color – Bari investigators explain – that is widely associated with heaven and spirituality”; whereas the second picture had a purple background, “which is associated with death and mourning”.