MILAN — A Tunisian terror suspect arrested in northern Italy was a foreign fighter who had been previously expelled from Italy and is believed responsible for radicalizing his elder brother, who stabbed two women to death in the French city of Marseille this month, authorities said Monday.
The suspect, 25-year-old Anis Hanachi, was arrested Saturday on an international warrant issued by France while riding a bicycle in the northern city of Ferrara, authorities told reporters in Rome.
He had no documents and claimed to be Algerian but further investigation revealed him to be the brother of the Marseille attacker, 29-year-old Ahmed Hanachi, who was shot and killed by police following the October 1 attack.
The younger brother was known to have been a foreign fighter in Syria, and had been expelled from Italy to Tunisia in 2014 after arriving on a boat, police said.
French authorities had signaled his possible presence in Italy two days after the elder brother stabbed two cousins to death in Marseille’s main train station. Italian authorities said they confirmed his presence in the Liguria region, which borders France, on Wednesday, and then tracked him down to Ferrara near the Adriatic coast by the weekend.
They said the fact he was arrested on a bicycle in the city indicates it’s not likely he had logistical support in the area, but that they were still investigating.
Hanachi is being held on charges of involvement in the attack and of international terrorism and was awaiting extradition to France.
The attacker, Ahmed Hanachi, had been married to an Italian woman and lived in Aprilia, south of Rome, from about 2006 to 2014.