‘ISIS jihadi’ spoke of ‘Fastening belt to reach heaven’ in bugged phone
A Morocco-born suspected ISIS jihadi has been arrested in Italy after he talked about ‘fastening his [suicide] belt to reach heaven’ in a bugged phone call.
Hamil Mehdi, 25, is in custody in the southern Italian city of Cosenza on terrorism charges.
Police raided his shabby apartment on Monday and found a ‘jihad training manual’ which details how to become a foreign fighter and join Daesh (ISIS) in Syria.
The suspect, a street vendor, moved to Italy in 2006 and soon obtained a permanent residency permit from authorities.
Last July, Mehdi travelled to Turkey with a one-way ticket but was arrested at Istanbul airport and deported from the country for ‘security reasons’.
Turkish authorities believe that he wanted to cross the border and join the Islamic State fanatics in Syria. They also found Daesh material on his mobile phone.
During the arrest in Italy, the Moroccan told authorities that he is not an ISIS member and travelled to Turkey ‘for religious reasons, to pray’.
Italian authorities, who were on his trail since July, tapped his phone and intercepted a call in which Mehdi told a friend that he was ‘fastening the [suicide] belt to reach heaven’, according to Corriere della Sera.
The man was reportedly about to travel to Belgium to join fellow jihadis in another attempt to reach Syria.
Last November, Italy raised the security level after warnings of possible terrorist attacks at a number of historical monuments and buildings of significance in Rome and Milan.
St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Milan’s cathedral and La Scala opera house, as well as ‘general venues’ like churches, synagogues, restaurants, theaters and hotels have been identified as ‘potential targets’ by the FBI.
The warnings came from the U.S. State Department as the FBI began investigating five possible suspects involved in the threats, Italy’s foreign minister said on Thursday.