Three Palestinians arrested in Italy on terrorism charges

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Italian police have arrested three Palestinians based in central Italy who they said were planning attacks in an unspecified country, a police statement said on Monday.

The three men living in l’Aquila, about 120 km (75 miles) northeast of Rome, had set up a cell linked to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, it said.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades is an armed group that is linked to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement and is considered a terrorist group by Israel, the European Union and the United States.

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Police said the three Palestinians had been charged with criminal conspiracy for terrorism purposes or subversion of the democratic order, which carries jail terms of up to 15 years.

“The suspects engaged in proselytism and propaganda (...) and planned attacks, including suicide attacks, against civilian and military targets on foreign territory,” police said.

One of the three men is wanted by Israel, which is at war with the Palestinian militant group Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and an Italian court is examining an extradition request for him, the statement added.

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In a separate statement, Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi hailed the arrest of “three dangerous terrorists” and said Italy was always on high alert against extremism and radicalization.

There was no immediate comment by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

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