Italian police ‘smash ISIS terror cell planning attacks on Canary Wharf and London hotels’
Two Afghan refugees were allegedly found in possession of material identifying potential targets as well as Islamic State propaganda
Two Afghan refugees have been arrested in Italy on suspicion of being part of an ISIS cell planning terror attacks in London.
According to investigators, the group were ready to target airports, shipping ports and shopping centres in Italy, France, Belgium and Britain.
Police say they found pictures and video on mobile phones of potential targets which included hotels in London’s West India Quay and Royal Victoria Dock and the business district Canary Wharf.
They were also in possession of jihadi propaganda linked to Islamic State, and al Qaeda including images of weapons and mutilated US soldiers, it is claimed.
Hakim Nasiri, 23, is being held on charges relating to international terrorism while Gulistan Ahmadzai, 29, was arrested on suspicion of aiding illegal immigration.
Several photos released by police show Nasiri posing with a rifle in what appears to be a shop or warehouse.
Police said the gun, believed to be an MS16 semi-automatic weapon, is difficult to get hold of on the black market.
Both suspects had humanitarian protection status in Italy.
Another image of Nasiri emerged of him posing with the mayor of Bari Antonio Decaro at an immigration rally in 2015.
The cell had been established in Puglia, in southeastern Italy, “to carry out violent attacks with the purpose of international terrorism, in Italy and abroad”, an arrest warrant read.
They had apparently been travelling between Italy and the UK on cheap flights, ot has been reported.
The cell was said to be at an early stage of their project but had nonetheless set up “a logistical support network”.
In all, the warrant calls for the arrest of five people, four Afghans and a Pakistani, three of whom are still at large.
They are all officially resident
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