Italian police raid apartments and shops, because of extremist groups

Italian police on Friday raided apartments and shops believed linked to a group of 12 Algerians suspected of providing logistical support to extremist groups in Algeria. Domenico Grimaldi, an official with the Milan tax police unit that coordinated the operation, said the suspects were believed to have sent fake documents, forged money and cell phones turned up in raids in the southern Italian city of Naples to fighters linked to the extremist organizations.

He said these organizations included the Salafist Group for Call and Combat, or GSPC, which is said to have links to al-Qaida, and the radical Armed Islamic Group, or GIA, blamed for numerous massacres in the 1990s.

Grimaldi said the operation was linked to a series of raids carried out against the same group in Milan in September.

He said investigators had found that the group sent supplies to Algeria on buses that drove from Naples to Marseille, southern France, and from there crossed to the North African country.

He said police had stopped one such bus Friday near Ventimiglia, on the border between Italy and France. Grimaldi said police had made no arrests during the raids, though some of the suspects were already detained on separate charges.

The GSPC is the most structured group among Algerian Islamic insurgents battling the North African state since 1992 in a bid to topple the government. In recent years, it has turned its sights on jihad, or holy war, beyond Algerian borders, reports the AP. I.L.

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