ITALY ARRESTS 40 IN SECURITY CRACKDOWN
By FRANCES D'EMILIO, Associated Press Writer Fri Aug 11, 4:14 PM ET
ROME - Police raided Internet cafes, money-transfer offices and
long-distance phone call centers catering to Muslims and arrested 40 people in a crackdown linked to Britain's announcement it had thwarted an alleged terror plot, authorities said
The arrests in Rome, Milan, Venice, Florence,
Naples and other cities on Thursday and Friday were "part
of an extraordinary operation that followed the British anti-terrorist operation," the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
More than 4,100 people were
stopped for identification checks, the ministry said.
Twenty-eight people were
arrested for violating rules on residence permits and 12 were arrested for property crimes, the statement said, without giving
details. The raids resulted in 114 expulsion orders.
A year ago, a similar security
sweep in Italy at money transfer centers,
Muslim butcher shops and similar places resulted in 141 arrests. Those raids came a few weeks after the London subway attacks.
On Friday, police also searched
15 homes occupied mostly by Pakistanis in several Italian cities as part of a Belgian police probe into suspected financing
of terrorism, the ministry said.
That operation captured
documents and led to three expulsion orders of foreigners who had irregular residence papers.
Italian authorities said
Belgian police are investigating a group of Pakistanis suspected of financing Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, a Pakistan-based terrorist
group believed to have ties to al-Qaida.
The latest raids targeting
Muslims in Italy triggered the ire of a spokeswoman for the Islamic Anti-Defamation
League in Italy.
"More than 4,000 people
were stopped and humiliated to allow police to arrest 12 chicken thieves and 28 clandestine" migrants, the Italian news agency
Apcom quoted spokeswoman Dacia Valent as saying.