Italian anti-terrorism police arrest Moroccan, investigate others

Turin police commissioner Francesco Messina on Wednesday attends a press conference in Turin on the arrest of a Moroccan-Italin man, seen pictured in the back, accused of participation in the Daesh group by spreading its propaganda online. (Alessandro Di Marco/ANSA via AP)
Updated 29 March 2018
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Italian anti-terrorism police arrest Moroccan, investigate others

ROME: Italian anti-terrorism police said on Wednesday they had arrested an Italian citizen of Moroccan origin on suspicion of supporting Daesh.
It was the latest in a series of arrests this month involving suspected supporters of extremist terrorism and came as Italy steps up the number of foreigners it expels.
A statement identified the arrested man as Elmahdi Halili, 23, who was arrested in the northern city of Turin.
Police said Halili had received a two-year suspended prison term in 2015 for “instigating terrorism” by running a website that praised Daesh and hailed some of the attacks it or its supporters carried out in Europe.
The police operation targeted an undisclosed number of other people, both foreign and Italian, some of whom had converted to Islam and were part of “a campaign of radicalization.” It was not clear from the statement if they also had been arrested.
Details of the operation, in which about 13 homes were searched, were due to be announced at a news conference later on Wednesday.
In an interview published on Wednesday in the Turin newspaper La Stampa, Interior Minister Marco Minniti said the security threat to Italy from supporters of Islamic State was higher than ever.
Minniti said this was because more so-called foreign fighters would be attempting to return to Europe via Italy after Daesh suffered a series of defeats in Syria and Iraq.
Wednesday’s operation was the latest in a string of arrests in Italy of people suspected of supporting Daesh.
On Tuesday in the southern city of Foggia, police arrested an Egyptian-born man suspected of being a member of Islamic State and of indoctrinating young children in a cultural center he ran. They said the man encouraged the children to kill non-Muslims.
On March 15, police acting on a tip from the FBI arrested a man of Latvian origin who they said had been preparing pipe bombs. A judge’s detention order said the man had been considering an attack on a kindergarten.
In recent months, Italy has stepped up expulsions of foreigners believed to be a threat to national security. So far this year, 29 have been expelled, most of them Muslims, compared to 132 for all of 2017.


Pompeo pledges close cooperation with India but trade, defense issues unresolved

Updated 26 June 2019
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Pompeo pledges close cooperation with India but trade, defense issues unresolved

  • But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave few specifics of how they would overcome disputes on issues
  • The disputes have led to higher trade tariffs by the two countries and created unease over the depth of their security alliance

NEW DELHI: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sought to reduce heightened trade tension with India on Wednesday, promising a renewed focus on negotiating improved trade and investment ties between the two nations.
But Pompeo, on a visit to India, gave few specifics of how they would overcome disputes on issues ranging from access to Indian markets for leading American companies to New Delhi’s demands for foreign firms to store Indian data in the country, and exports of steel and aluminum to the United States.
The two nations are “friends who can help each other all around the world,” Pompeo told a joint news conference with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar after they met.
The current differences were expressed “in the spirit of friendship,” he added.
The disputes have led to higher trade tariffs by the two countries and created unease over the depth of their security alliance.
In particular, the sudden introduction of new e-commerce rules for foreign investors in February angered the Americans because it showed New Delhi was prepared to move the goalposts to hurt two of the largest US companies, discount retailer Walmart, and Amazon.com Inc.
Walmart last year invested $16 billion to buy control of Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart.
Just days before Pompeo’s visit, India slapped higher retaliatory tariffs on 28 US products following Washington’s withdrawal of key trade privileges for New Delhi.
Jaishankar, a former Indian ambassador to the United States, played down the spat on Wednesday.
“If you trade with someone and they are your biggest trading partner, it is impossible you don’t have trade issues,” he said.
India’s ties with Russia and Iran, both now subject to US sanctions, are also a sore point.
US pressure has led India to stop buying oil from Iran, a top energy supplier. The United States has also stepped up pressure on India not to proceed with its purchase of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia.
The missile deal and Iranian oil were both discussed during their meeting, Jaishankar and Pompeo said, but mentioned no resolution of either at the news conference.
Earlier, Pompeo met Prime Minister Narendra Modi for talks at his official residence in the capital, New Delhi, and they exchanged handshakes in images broadcast on television.
“The Prime Minister expressed his strong commitment to achieve the full potential of bilateral relations in trade and economy, energy, defense, counterterrorism and people-to-people contacts,” the foreign ministry said in a statement, without elaborating.
Pompeo is expected to round off the trip with a policy speech hosted by the US embassy, before departing on Thursday for a summit of leaders of the Group of 20 nations in Japan.