Italian cells in global jihadism

(To Roberto Colella)

The terrorist threat also shakes Italy. The aspect that most worries the Italian secret services concerns some cells. Today Al-Qaeda can be defined as a global, flexible, cell-based terrorist organization that is composed of numerous cells whose members do not know each other, so that in case of loss of one cell the others remain operative.

In the Campania region there is a widespread presence of Algerians linked to the Salafita Group for Preaching and Combat, born of a split within the GIA (Armed Islamic Group). An organization linked to terrorism with branches throughout Europe, mainly devoted to the international traffic of false documents, with connections to the areas of Vicenza, Milan and above all Santa Maria Capua Vetere.

The genesis of these Islamist cells in Italy founded on an ethnic basis dates back to the eighties and nineties. At the beginning of the Nineties, groups of Algerian terrorists established themselves in our country. They use Italy as a logistics base and to proselytize.

But in the light of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, what role do Italian cells play?

Their role, so far, has been only logistic. They are mainly specialized in the manufacture of false documents, for other groups, for themselves, for Al-Qaeda.

The Islamic terrorists in our country generally come from middle-high bourgeois classes. Entrepreneurs, merchants, manage import-export companies, call centers. But there are also professors, students, specialized technicians, artisans, electricians, simple laborers, unemployed.

Officially they can also set up autonomous business activities, as was the case in the case of a Milanese group that had set up a cleaning services company in Gallarate - only to discover that it did not do any business. Important cells over the years have been discovered in Milan, Rome, Turin, Naples, where there have been searches, arrests, trials and even convictions.

In February the 2002 in Milan took place the trial of the Tunisian Group members of the Salafi Group for preaching and fighting, an operative cell in Lombardy. A total of four convictions were imposed: five years imprisonment for Muhtar Bususa and Al-Sayyid Sami bin al-Humays, "Omar the emigrant", considered the head of the cell. As pointed out by the Milan public prosecutor Stefano Dambruoso, owner of the investigation, was the first ruling in Europe that, after the September 11, recognized a European cell that had links with the Islamic International Front of Osama bin Laden.