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Italy nabs Palestinian terror cell plotting attacks

The cell, linked to the "Tulkarem Battalion-Rapid Response," planned to strike "on foreign soil," police said.

Italian police at the Colosseum in Rome. Credit: Andras Stefuca/Pexels.
Italian police at the Colosseum in Rome. Credit: Andras Stefuca/Pexels.

Police in Italy arrested three Palestinians on terrorism charges, the country’s La Repubblica daily reported on Monday. The migrants are believed to have been part of a cell plotting attacks “on foreign soil.”

The suspected terrorists lived in the central city of L’Aquila, some 75 miles northeast of Rome, and had all received temporary residency permits for humanitarian reasons, the newspaper said.

According to Italian investigators, the cell was linked to the “Tulkarem Battalion-Rapid Response,” a Samaria-based terrorist group that has been active since 2023. The organization consists of gunmen from Fatah and Islamic Jihad and has carried out numerous attacks, including on Bat Hefer, a village east of Netanya that borders the Green Line.

The Tulkarem group has links to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, an armed “militia” of Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction, which is recognized as a terrorist group by the European Union.

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi on Monday hailed the arrest of the “dangerous terrorists” in a post on X while thanking law enforcement agencies for the “important achievement.”

While reports did not name the country the cell was planning to attack, Israel requested the extradition of some of the suspects, including Anan Yaeesh, who came to Italy in 2017 and was arrested on Jan. 27.

Last week, Israel’s National Security Council on Wednesday issued a travel warning for citizens during Ramadan, which kicked off on Sunday evening.

The National Security Council emphasized that the official travel alert has not been raised for Ramadan, but stressed the need for members of the public to exercise caution and use good judgment.

“Muslim terrorist organizations see Ramadan as an opportunity to carry out terrorist attacks and acts of violence. During this period, the incitement and calls by elements of radical Islam…to carry out attacks are increasing,” the statement read.

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