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Italian Intelligence Agency alerts the country to higher risks of Islamic terrorism

by Marco Ludovico

The risk of fundamentalists who want to “conduct the jihad directly on Italian territory” is becoming “increasingly acute,” according to the 2016 annual report by the Department of Intelligence and Security (DIS) presented a few days ago in Rome.

The report shows a threat to national security that's become harder to pinpoint, more complex, ambiguous and insidious. It highlights the “proven ability” of jihad affiliates to “circulate freely in the Schengen Area for months without being identified.” Italy has so far escaped from being targeted by the sort of terrorist attacks experienced in other European countries.

If ISIS “appears to be experiencing difficulties in a few scenarios” like “the Syrian-Iraqi theater,” fundamentalist terrorism is spreading “to a worrying degree in other areas,” such as “Southeast Asia, Afghanistan and Sub-Saharan Africa” as well as “the Balkans.”

It seems likely that “European-born mujahideen will return to the respective countries of origin with their families, children included:” the report highlights “the role of children in propaganda, as a guarantee of continuity for the caliphate project and for jihad to conquer ‘Damascus, Baghdad, Jerusalem, Mecca, Dabiq, Rome and Andalusia'.”

The major risk factor on national territory comes from so-called lone wolves or “self-radicalized individuals.”

With regard to immigration, intelligence chief Alessandro Pansa remarks “there is no indication of a link between migration flows and a possible jihad strategy to infiltrate them and send groups of terrorist fighters to Europe.”

Nonetheless, the DIS report mentions “increasing contaminations, especially in Sahel and southern Libya, between criminal networks and terrorism,” not forgetting mutual contact “in the supply of ID and travel documents.”

The intelligence report also stresses the fact that 2016 saw the resumption of an “anonymous campaign against CIEs,” the Identification and Expulsion Centers; a campaign that is currently underway conducted by antagonistic and anarchist-insurrectionalist movements. DIS also warns of the low level of protection of many national companies vis-a-vis hostile actions to acquire sensitive information. ” And the list of threats continues in the field of IT: cybercrime, cyberterrorism, espionage aimed at subtracting industrial and commercial secrets besides the institutional ones.