Italian police arrest Moroccan migrant over Bardo museum attack | News | DW | 20.05.2015
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Italian police arrest Moroccan migrant over Bardo museum attack

Italian police say they have arrested a man in connection with March's deadly attack on a museum in Tunisia. Extremists have claimed responsibility for the incident, in which more than 20 people were killed.

Italian authorities said they had captured 22-year-old Moroccan Touil Abdelmajid on Tuesday evening at his mother's home near Milan, on an international warrant by Italy's anti-terrorism police.

He is accused of helping to organize and execute the March 18 attack which left 22 people dead, 20 of whom were foreign tourists. This included people from Italy, Russia, Poland, France and Britain.

Abdelmajid is believed to have snuck into Italy on a migrant boat.

Prosecutor Bruno Megale said the full list of accusations against Abdelmajid include premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit attacks against the internal security of the state, belonging to a terrorist group and recruiting and training others to commit terrorist attacks.

He said that apart from for an expulsion order issued by Sicilian authorities in February, the suspect had not been known to police.

Police were led to Abdelmajid in part because his mother reported her son's passport as missing immediately after the fatal attack.

Mastermind believed to be at large

In March of this year, gunmen opened fire on tourists getting out of buses outside the Bardo museum in the Tunisian capital.

They then entered the building and continued shooting, taking hostages for several hours.

Two of the assailants were killed in a shootout with police, and officials have since arrested more than 20 suspects, as well as fired senior members of the police over alleged security failures.

However the Tunisian Interior Ministry has said it believes the mastermind behind the incident is still at large.

The violent assault outraged leaders around the world, with several traveling to Tunis to take a stand against terrorism.

The extremist group "Islamic State" initially claimed responsibility for the shooting, though Tunisian authorities have said militant group Okba Ibn Nafaa were behind the attack.

Nearly two weeks after the attack, prominent al Qaeda militant and top suspect, Abou Sakhr Lokman, was killed in a police operation.

Tunisia has launched a widespread crackdown on extremism since the Bardo attack, its worst terrorist incident in more than a decade.

The arrest prompted the head of the Italian anti-immigration Northern League party, Matteo Salvini, to call for the Schengen Zone agreement, permitting free movement between participating states, to be suspended.

"Today, in my Milan, a North African was arrested for involvement in the Tunisian massacre," he said. "Close the borders before it's too late."

an/msh (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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