Italian intelligence tracks down IS commander in Sudan

Italian intelligence tracks down IS commander in Sudan
An Islamic State commander who was convicted of recruitment in Italy, was tracked down by Italian intelligence in Sudan after years of escaping the law, authorities said on Monday.
2 min read
15 November, 2016
Italian intelligence tracked down the militant in Sudan [File Photo: AFP]

A veteran commander of the Islamic State group who was convicted in Italy of terrorist recruitment has been arrested in Sudan, an Italian lawmaker said on Monday.

Abu Nassim, a Tunisian national who was until recently reported to be leading a group of IS fighters around the port of Sabratha in Libya, was tracked down by Italian intelligence, Giacomo Stucchi, a senator who chairs the parliamentary committee that oversees Italy's secret services confirmed.

"I would like to express my satisfaction over the anti-terrorist operation that has led to the arrest in Sudan of the Tunisian terrorist Moez Fezzani," Stucchi said, using Abu Nassim's real name.

Abu Nassim lived in Italy for most of his 20s and subsequently fought in Afghanistan and Syria before reportedly moving to Libya in 2014.

He first arrived in Italy in 1989 to work on building sites but disappeared in 1997 after being suspected of trying to radicalise and recruit other Arab immigrants.

The militant resurfaced in Pakistan during his journey to join the late Osama bin Laden's forces in Afghanistan.

He was arrested by US forces in 2001 and held at the Bagram airbase detention facility. From there he was was transferred to Italy in 2009 after prosecutors filed charges of terrorist recruitment related to his previous stay.

He was acquitted in 2012 and deported to Tunisia, only to be convicted on appeal in his absence the following year, but the militant was already on the frontlines of battles in Syria by then.

Tunisia issued a warrant for his arrest in connection with the March 2015 Bardo Museum attack in Tunis, in which gunmen killed 21 tourists and a policeman.