Italy Police Raid 'Terror School'

July 21, 2007

Author: Staff Writer

Source: BBC News

Police in central Italy say they have uncovered a bomb school for Islamist militants after raiding a mosque in Perugia and making three arrests.

Evidence of training in explosives and poisons, and instructions on flying a Boeing 747 were reportedly found.

Police said the suspected cell had links to a group associated with Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.

They seized the imam and two other men, all Moroccans, and have a warrant for a fourth man believed to be abroad.

The three detainees refused to reply to questions when they were brought before a local magistrate.

Twenty foreign students were also arrested in a related dawn raid and police said that those without residence permits would be deported.

Perugia, a popular tourist destination because of its medieval and Renaissance palaces, is home to Italy's University for Foreigners, where hundreds of students from the Middle East are enrolled in university courses in Italian and other subjects.

The discovery of the alleged terrorist training centre is a matter for serious concern to the Italian authorities, the BBC's David Willey reports from Rome.

Italian Interior Minister Giuliano Amato said it was now necessary to pay close attention to mosques being used for activities unrelated to religion.