April 17, 2009:
Italian police recently rounded up 26 suspected Islamic terrorists in nine cities. Most of those arrested were Algerians. The police first picked up leads on this network via informants in a mosque near Venice. While the police found that many of those arrested had some connections with Islamic radical groups, even more of them were linked to criminal enterprises. These involved smuggling (people and goods) as well as fencing stolen items and forging documents.
This is a common pattern with European Islamic radicals. Mixing Islamic terrorism with purely economic criminal activity has long been advocated by al Qaeda. In addition to gaining cash for terrorist activities, it keeps the terrorists in touch with the local criminal underground. This enables the terrorists to get access to weapons, explosives and other needed items (stolen vehicles and untraceable communications.)