Italian police carry out anti-terrorism raids

Police in the northern Italian city of Varese carried out more than a dozen raids Wednesday during an operation against Islamic terrorism that targeted places of worship among other locations, the news agency ANSA reported. Seventeen people were placed under investigation and ANSA added that the suspects were believed to have links to a Tunisian, Ben Said Faycal, a former Varese resident expelled from Italy in September.

Faycal was suspected of recruiting terrorists and having links to extremist Islamic groups in northern Italy. Authorities in Varese, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) northwest of Milan, said there was no one immediately available to confirm Wednesday's report.

ANSA reported that authorities were examining material seized during the 18 raids. It said the material was thought to include video and audio recordings of Islamic extremist propaganda.

In recent years, Italian authorities have acted against a number of Islamic extremist cells, largely based in the north of the country and accused of providing logistical support to terrorist groups. Italy raised its level of alert following the transport bombings in London on July 7, approving a package of new anti-terrorism measures that give police greater investigative powers, reports the AP. I.L.

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