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25 Apr, 2017 16:54

ISIS sympathizer who threatened to ‘roast non-believers on skewers’ arrested in Italy

ISIS sympathizer who threatened to ‘roast non-believers on skewers’ arrested in Italy

Italian police have arrested an "extremely dangerous" Moroccan man who had reportedly planned terrorist attacks in Italy and used social media to recruit accomplices, according to media reports.

Mouner El Aoual, 29, was arrested in Turin on Monday in an operation which included Italy's Special Operations Group. It followed seven months of surveillance after an FBI tip-off.

According to media reports, the man used the app Zello to discuss plans to carry out attacks in Italy.

In one chat group online, El Aoual referred to himself as the spokesperson for Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Italy. He used the handle 'ibn dawala7,' meaning 'son of the state,' and swore allegiance to IS chief Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.

El Aoual, who has lived illegally in Italy since 2008, also shared images of IS on Facebook, and praised recent terrorist attacks across Europe.

He also promoted Islamist extremism online, calling for "non-believers" to be "roasted on kebab skewers" and fed to dogs, according to a police report.

The 29-year-old reportedly shared material about various combat techniques and how to throw investigators off track, as well as behaviors which could make a person "invisible" while living in a Western country.

A judge for preliminary investigations called El Aoual an "extremely dangerous subject" who posed a "very high risk of moving on to carrying out serious acts of violence."

Investigators said he had been living with an Italian mother and son who had come to think of him "almost as an adopted child."

The arrest comes less than one month after Italian authorities announced they had thwarted a suspected jihadist plot to bomb the Rialto bridge in Venice. 

Italy has deported 31 people over terrorism links this year. The Interior Ministry has ordered the expulsion of 163 people for religious extremism since January 2015.