Italy’s Air Force Restructures Special Ops Brigade

Sep. 30, 2014 – 11:55AM   |   By TOM KINGTON
New Machinery: The Italian Air Force is due to receive AW101 helicopters for search-and-rescue and special operations missions.
New Machinery: The Italian Air Force is due to receive AW101 helicopters for search-and-rescue and special operations missions. (AgustaWestland)

ROME — Through a shake-up of its bases, the Italian Air Force is streamlining its special operations and rescue operations, trimming costs as new aircraft come into service, and reflecting what officials describe as a shift in the type of mission they are handling in the 21st century.

On Sept. 22, the Air Force’s 1st Brigade for Special Operations moved into new premises at Cervia Air Base on Italy’s Adriatic coast, part of an enlargement of the brigade that saw it take command of the 15th Wing already based at Cervia, which undertakes combat search-and-rescue missions.

Three wings already grouped under the brigade’s command, which are spread around Italy, are set to partly shift personnel and machinery to Cervia. Continue reading


New Intelligence on Italian Jihadists

English: War flag of al-Shabaab

English: War flag of al-Shabaab (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

August 25, 2014

Compared to France, Germany, or Britain, Italy’s problem with domestic jihadism is relatively modest, yet it is growing fast, thanks to the wars in Syria and Iraq. A new report in Corriere della Sera, Italy’s paper of record, based on current intelligence from Italian secret services, paints a disturbing picture of rising radicalism.

At present, according to the latest intelligence in Rome, some fifty Italians are fighting with the Islamic State (IS — get my assessment of that dangerous group here), of whom a shocking eighty percent are converts, not immigrants or born Muslims. Many go abroad to wage holy war after a surprisingly brief period of conversion and radicalization. They are very young and come mostly from northern Italy. The Salafi jihadist scene in Italy is fragmented regionally and a key role is played by what Italian intelligence terms “liaison officers,” the individuals who facilitate the recruitment of new holy warriors and get them to the war zone. Continue reading

Italy: Libyan bomber ‘prayed with us’ says Muslim leader

Milan, 12 October (AKI) – The Libyan who detonated a bomb at the ‘Santa Barbara’ military barracks on Monday, Mohammed Game, prayed at Milan’s Viale Jenner Mosque, said the head of the Islamic Institute in Milan.
“He is a Libyan who hung out everywhere and who even prayed with us, just like thousands of others do, but we did not know him very well,” said the institute’s president Abdel Hamid Shaari in an interview with Adnkronos. Continue reading

Terrorism: Al-Qaeda linked website launches Italian section

Terrorism: Al-Qaeda linked website launches Italian section

Dubai, 14 April (AKI) – (by Hamza Boccolini) – One of the most popular Jihadist web forums, the al-Qaeda linked Ekhlas website, has launched a section in Italian.

Ekhlas was previously entirely in Arabic.

Ekhlas’ Italian section appears to take the place of the blog of the former imam of the northern Italian city of Carmagnola, Abdul Qadir Fadlallah Mamour and his wife, Barbara Farina.

Mamour’s blog, which was shut down by the Italian postal police on 22 February, was the first al-Qaeda website in Italian.

Managing the content of this new Italian section of Ekhlas is a figure that goes by the name Nahir al-Murtadin, which in Arabic means “killer of apostates”. He does not appear to have a good command of the Italian language.

The inaugural posting on the new Italian language page is a welcome message.

“In the name of Allah, the compassionate, the merciful, praise to Allah. Allah who guides us in the way of the Koran and of the Sunnah.”

“The forum Al-Ekhlas begins an Italian section today. In the name of the administration of the forum, I encourage all our brothers and sisters who have knowledge of the Italian language to bring life to this section.”

Currently, only a dozen people, have taken part in the new forum, including four or five who are residents in Italy. All of them show a less than perfect command of written Italian.

Among the forum participants is a posting from Brahim33 who, writing in ungrammatical Italian, talks about the “lives of Arab Muslims in this country [Italy], where there are few who love [al-Qaeda leader] Bin Laden and who love the mujahadeen.”

He talks about how “they have fear when I speak to them of Jihad in Afghanistan, in Iraq. They give you a look and they think that you’re a terrorist.”

Among the first few topics of discussion in the Italian section of was the conversion to Christianity last month of the deputy director of Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Magdi Allam.

Two articles on Allam’s conversion to Christianity during Easter this year were posted on the site, both highly critical of the media emphasis on the Egyptian journalist’s conversion.

The first article was taken from an Italian blog written by “Dragor” while the second is an article published by a Roman Muslim, Amina Salina, and was published on the website The site follows inter-religious dialogue in Italy.

The new section of the forum also had postings which appear to confirm its ideological and organisational links to Mamour, who managed the first al-Qaeda website in Italian.

The second document posted in this new section is in fact the Italian translation of a recent audio message by Bin Laden, threatening European countries, which had already appeared on the blog run by Mamour.

Another posting has the theme of “Arab names” which has been published in the past by the blog of Barbara Farina, who goes by the name of Umm Osama [mother of Osama] in jihadist circles.

On 22 February, the Italian postal police closed four pro-Islamic blogs which posted proclamations by al-Qaeda leaders in Italy and which were hosted by Splinder, an Italian web server.

The Digos, Italy‘s anti-terrorist police, in Verona, charged seven people in connection with the closure of the blogs.

The main blog was managed from Senegal by Mamour, who had already been expelled from Italy.

The second blog was linked to his wife, and was also managed from Senegal.

The other two pro-Islamic blogs were managed from within Italy.

The seven people charged by Digos police were all Italians, who had no prior criminal records, and were all caught up within the web of Islamic proselytism through the blog Qital, which was managed by Mamour.

All four of these blogs were written in Italian, and called on Muslims to wage “a holy war against the unbelieving Westerners”.

The blogs praised the deeds of the mujahadeen and also published the messages by Bin Laden and his second in command, Ayman al Zawahiri, after every attack that was carried out by al-Qaeda.

However it will be more difficult to close this type of website as Ekhlas, like all other Arabic language sites, is hosted by web servers that are not located in Italy.