Italian police arrest 10 suspected Syria-bound militants
Italian security forces say they have detained 10 people accused of planning to go to crisis-hit Syria to fight for terrorist groups.
The suspects were arrested in the Italian cities of Milan, Bergamo and Grosseto and in an unnamed Albanian city, Milan police officials told state-run RAI radio on Wednesday.
According to Italian officials, a few dozen residents of the country are fighting within the ranks of the Takfiri ISIL terrorist group in Iraq and Syria.
Last year, Italy expelled several people accused of cooperating with terror groups. Italian officials say they monitor terrorist groups’ activities and recruitment in the country.
Earlier this year, the US National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) said in its latest estimate that over 20,000 individuals from around the world, including many Westerners, have traveled to Syria to join the ISIL and other extremist groups.
Foreign militants from over 90 countries, including at least 3,400 people from Western states and more than 150 Americans, have gone to Syria to join the terrorist groups there, the NCTC added.
European security officials fear that citizens of their countries who have joined terrorist groups in the Middle East will use their combat skills against their homeland upon returning home.
ISIL extremists currently control parts of Syria and Iraq. They have carried out horrific crimes in the two countries, including mass executions and the beheading of people from all communities such as Shias, Sunnis, Kurds and Christians.
Since the beginning of the 2011 foreign-backed militancy in Syria, Western countries and their regional allies, such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, have been giving financial, logistical and military support to the militant groups fighting to oust the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Gradually, however, some of the regional and Western supporters of the militants began to see the consequences of their policies as the militants turned their guns against their sponsors.