Italy arrests 13 in high-speed migrant trafficking ring

Customs Police in Sicily said Tuesday that a wiretapped conversation between two traffickers revealed one saying he intended to travel to France and carry out a suicide attack and asking for prayers.

The trafficking group allegedly organized transport from the Tunisian port of Nabeul to Trapani in Sicily aboard rubber dinghies equipped with high-speed outboard motors and trained navigators for 3,000 euros ($3,690) to 5,000 euros per person.

The traffickers also carried contraband cigarettes for a total value per trip of up to 70,000 euros, with the capacity to run two trips a week. Police said the suspects were Italian, Tunisian and Moroccan.

Tunisia outraged and betrayed at ‘back-stabbing’ EU terror-funding blacklist

The Tunisian government is taking steps to convince the EU to reconsider its decision to include the North African nation in the list of countries considered to be at high risk of money-laundering and terrorism financing.

On 7 February, the European Parliament blacklisted Tunisia for increased risk of money-laundering and terror funding, leaving officials bewildered in Tunis at a time when the EU is said to support the country’s successful democratic transition.

MEPs were split on adding Tunisia on the list, failing to achieve the 376-vote absolute majority needed to reject the inclusion. Those objecting deemed the listing “undeserved” as it failed to recognise the recent steps the country had taken to strengthen its financial system against criminal activity.

EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourová told MEPs the Commission would reassess the country’s progress “as early as possible” this year. For the second time in a few months, Tunisia was blacklisted.

On 5 December, the EU had put Tunisia along with other countries on its tax haven blacklist, although it was removed from the list on 23 January following a wave of official protests and diplomatic efforts. February’s EU vote stemmed from the recommendations of the International Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

The FATF identifies potentially higher-risk countries with strategic anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CFT) deficiencies, and closely monitors those countries’ progress in addressing their weaknesses.

On that basis, Tunisia was classified among the countries that pose a risk to the international financial system.

CounterTerrorism: jailed three students, they arrived in Turin as university students

In the early hours of today, Saturday 24 February, the ROS Carabinieri arrested three Tunisian citizens, all accused of association aimed at international terrorism.

They are Nafaa Afli, 27, Bilel Mejri, 26, and Marwen Ben Saad, 31. The arrest was issued by the Court of Turin.

The restrictive provision arises from the elements collected in the context of the activities conducted by Ros in the context of a survey called “Taliban” and coordinated by the Turin Public Prosecutor’s Office, in the context of the prevention and fight against the phenomenon of “foreign fighters” and “lone” wolves. “

Tunisian forces kill top aide of Al Qaeda leader in Maghreb

Tunisian security forces have killed a top aide of Abu Musab Abdul Wadud, the leader of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), an official source told on Saturday.

Tunisia has been on high alert since 2015, when Daesh gunmen killed dozens of foreign tourists in a museum in the capital, Tunis, and on a beach in the resort city of Sousse.

Algerian Bilel Kobi was “the right arm of Abou Wadoud” and was killed in an ambush near the Algerian border when on a mission to reorganise AQIM’s Tunisian branch following strikes by Tunisian forces against it.

Tunisia Alert Risk

After a year in which the army clashed with al-Qaeda and the jihadists of the Islamic Maghreb near the Algerian border, on December 11 a soldier was killed, at the beginning of the month small protests held in different places including Le Kram, the province of Tunis and Meknassi, in the province of Sidi Bouzid on December 13, protesters clashed again with the police.

250 activists and intellectuals on Dec. 17 (seventh anniversary of the beginning of the revolution) have found a critical position towards the governing coalition and the local elections to be held in the first quarter of 2018. European Ministries of Finance On December 5 published a list of seventeen tax haven countries, including Tunisia; to remove the country from the current list.

Election Commission December 16, said the local elections will be held on May 6, 2018. However, at the end of the month the pressures of some groups of anarchists and terrorists in the south and the border with Algeria intensified. It is feared that an attempt is being made to destabilize the entire area. From 10 to 13 January, in fact, violent clashes occurred in almost all the cities of Tunisia.

Attempts by the Tunisian government to normalize the situation are not easy to apply due to the rise in retail prices of some essential foodstuffs. Although military efforts in the south of Tunisia and in the desert area of ​​the Libyan, Algerian sahara have brought some significant victories, the pressure of the Qaedist groups and ISIS militias is not a short-term solution. Libya, Tunisia and much of the Algerian Sahara remain  very high-risk territories.

Tunisian Jewish school set on fire by Molotov cocktails

A Jewish school on a Tunisian island that is home to an ancient Jewish community was attacked late on Tuesday as violent anti-government protests raged elsewhere in the North African country.

Petrol bombs thrown at the school on the tourist resort island of Djerba caused some damage but no injuries.

There were no protests in Djerba but locals said the assailants had exploited the fact that there was a reduced security presence as police was busy elsewhere combating anti-government protests around the country.

Terrorist attack in Tunis Parliament

A suspected Islamist militant was arrested  after wounding two policemen in a knife attack near the parliament building in Tunis.


Photo:  Fethi Belan/AF