Sunday, June 25, 2017

Italy arrests female "foreign fighter" suspect

An Italian woman has been arrested on suspicion of being a foreign fighter for the so-called Islamic State (IS) extremist group, local media reported Saturday.

Counterterrorism police arrested 26-year-old Lara Bombonati, a convert to Islam, in the northern town of Tortona earlier in the day, the local edition of La Repubblica newspaper reported.

"Bombonati carried out logistics and assistance as part of a newly formed terrorist organization operating in the areas of Idlib and Aleppo (in Syria)," Turin Prosecutor Armando Spataro wrote in a statement reported by Turin-based La Stampa newspaper.

Other media named the new extremist group in Syria as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Bombonati had been under counterterrorism surveillance since being deported by Turkey, where she was arrested near the Syrian border in January.

Her husband Francesco Cascio, from the southern city of Trapani, was also a convert to Islam and reportedly died as a foreign fighter in Syria last year.

Her family had reported Bombonati to the authorities as an extremist sympathizer as early as 2014, according to investigative sources cited by Italian news agency ANSA.

Bombonati wore a burkha and changed her name to Fatima, according to La Stampa newspaper.

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