Two Islamic State sympathisers have been arrested in Italy after investigators discovered they were plotting to carry out a terror attack.

Police arrested the two men, an Italian convert to Islam and a migrant from Morocco, last week before they were able to carry out attacks on Italian civilians, newspaper Il Giornale reports.

According to investigators, the two men had initially wanted to travel to Syria and join Islamic State but were unable to do so and decided to carry out attacks in Italy instead.

Italian Islamic convert Giuseppe Frittitta, who referred to himself as Yusuf after his conversion, had allegedly started to become radicalised in 2017, showing signs of radicalisation after growing a beard and marrying a Muslim woman.

He was also said to have moved in Islamic fundamentalist circles in Northern Italy after having moved to the region for work. It was during this time he befriended 18-year-old Moroccan Ossama Ghafir and they began to communicate with each other about carrying out attacks.

The pair communicated online, sending each other Islamic State propaganda material along with sharing updates on the fighting in Syria.

The chats also contained references to aspects of guerrilla warfare and sabotage, according to investigators, and explicit mentions of violence such as when Frittitta mentioned how he would like to use a knife he carried with him to slit throats.

“Martyrdom is the best way to die,” Ghafir is alleged to have said in the online chats and added, “Allah will not deny us this possibility.”

In other comments, he said, “The law of Allah … does not apply except with the sword. And one must be cruel to the traitors, to the rebels. And all dead.”

The case marks the latest successful arrest of Islamic radicals in Italy which has seen several major plots foiled in recent years including a Somali migrant who was arrested in December after planning to bomb the Vatican and other Italian churches.

Italy has also been a European leader in deporting arrested jihadists, with the populist coalition government returning an average of ten radicals to their home countries per month last year.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)
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