MILAN — Italian police said Friday they were making arrests of 18 suspected Islamic extremists, including two purported bodyguards for Osama bin Laden, who allegedly staged attacks in Pakistan and sought to topple the Pakistani government.
Anti-terrorism police in Sardinia said some of the suspects were responsible for “numerous bloody acts of terrorism in Pakistan,” including the October 2009 explosion in a market in Peshawar in which more than 100 people died. Telephone wiretaps indicated that two of the suspects were part of a network of people who protected bin Laden in Pakistan, a police statement said.
Police said the aim of the terror network was to create an insurrection against the Pakistani government.
Pasquale Errico, the police chief in the city of Sassari, said the warrants were being executed throughout Italy. The suspects were being sought also for financing terrorist movements in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Sardinian daily L’Unione Sarda reported that one of the suspects ran a construction business in Olbia.
“There is the hypothesis that he was recruiting immigrants who arrived here by airplane with false documents and involved them in illegal activities,” the paper’s editor Anthony Muroni told Sky TG24.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.