On Wednesday, Italian authorities announced they had arrested a Chechen suspected of being part of a terrorist organisation and deported a Russian and two Albanians who had been indoctrinated.
The Bari Prosecutor’s Office (Southern Italy) said Eli Bombataliev, 38, is suspected of being involved in a December 2014 attack in Grozny that killed 20 people. It is also thought he joined Islamists fighting in Syria from 2014 to 2015. At the time, authorities claimed they had killed the 10 suspects in the Grozny attack.
He then moved to Italy, where his charisma led to him becoming one of the head officials at the Islamic centre in Foggia (South Italy), Prosecutor Giuseppe Gatti said during a press conference.
Investigators came across him when looking into the radicalisation of a young Tunisian living in Foggia, who was arrested in May because of suspected links to terrorism.
Eli Bombataliev was also under surveillance in Belgium, where he joined a network of Chechen ISIS recruiters and fighters.
Italian investigators found messages and videos in his phone, which he shared to recruit jihadists. “When you encourage your wife to put on an explosive belt, your intentions are very clear. When you claim you can’t have a normal family life because you will have to sacrifice yourself when the time comes, we are clearly going to think an attack is possible”, explained Bari Prosecutor Giuseppe Volpe.
The wife in question, a 46 year old Russian, was deported for national security reasons, along with two Albanian brothers aged 23 and 26. Bombataliev had sent them all messages. The Russian is his second wife, and Italian authorities are currently looking for his first wife.
Sarah Johansson (Source: Belga)