Monday 18 December 2017

Italian police arrest Algerian suspected of aiding terror cell

Suspect Djamal Eddine Ouali Photo: Reuters/Italian Police
Suspect Djamal Eddine Ouali Photo: Reuters/Italian Police

Barbara Lewis

Italian police arrested an Algerian suspected of making documents for militants linked to the Brussels bombings and Belgian authorities charged a man connected with a French raid, as the investigation into the attacks spread to other countries.

With links to the Paris attacks in November becoming clearer, and amid criticism that European countries have not done enough to share intelligence on suspected Islamist militants, cooperation appeared to be deepening.

The suicide bomb attacks targeting Brussels airport and a rush-hour metro train on Tuesday killed 31 people, including three of the attackers, and injured hundreds more. Isil has claimed responsibility.

Belgian press agency Belga said yesterday that prosecutors charged the man in connection with a raid in Paris on Thursday that authorities say foiled an apparent attack plot.

Belga named him as Abderamane A., who prosecutors had said on Saturday was being held after being shot during a raid in the Brussels district of Schaerbeek. The prosecutor's office could not immediately be reached for comment.

In southern Italy, Algerian Djamal Eddine Ouali (40) was arrested by DIGOS anti-terrorism police after a series of raids and arrests was carried out in Belgium and Germany following the attacks, Italian media said on Saturday.

He was suspected of having made false documents for militants connected to the attacks, Sky TG 24 television and other media said. His name was found in documents in a raid on an apartment near Brussels last October, including some that featured photos of militants involved in the attacks in Paris and Brussels and the aliases they used.

Belgian prosecutors also charged three men on Saturday including Faycal C, whom Belgian media identified as Faycal Cheffou and said he was "the man in the hat", as he has become known, in last Tuesday's airport CCTV footage that showed three men pushing baggage trolleys bearing luggage.

However, investigators have still not fully confirmed that Cheffou is that man, a person close to the investigation has said.

The two others in the picture are believed to have blown themselves up.

Cheffou was charged with taking part in the activities of a terrorist group, and actual and attempted terrorist murder. The other two charged on Saturday, Aboubakar A. and Rabah N., were accused of terrorist activities and membership of a terrorist group. Rabah N. was also wanted in connection with the raid in France.

Irish Independent

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