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Albanian police arrest an Islamist sought by Italy


Tirana (AFP)

Albanian police on Tuesday arrested a 28-year old man following a request from Italy where he is sought for "terrorist activities".

Bledar Ibrahimi, arrested in the central Albanian town of Elbasan, is "considered as a dangerous person for public security in Italy and is suspected to be involved in terrorist activities in Italy and Egypt," the Albanian police said in a statement.

The arrest was made following an international arrest warrant issued in March by an Italian prosecutor "for participation in a terrorist organisation", the police said, adding that the suspect would be extradited in the coming days.

"NO truce for criminals and fanatics who import war in Italy," Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini tweeted, thanking Italian special forces and police as well as the Albanian authorities.

Expelled from Italy in 2016, Ibrahimi lived with his grandfather, according to Albanian media which also reported on suspected links between the suspect and Islamic State militants.

In 2016 Albanian police foiled an attack against the Israeli football team and its supporters during a match in Shkodra. Eight Islamists, mostly Kosovo Albanians, were sentenced to up to ten years imprisonment.

In 2014 nine other people, including two imams, were arrested for having recruited and financed the departure of volunteers for jihad. They are currently on trial.

From 2012 to 2014 between 100 and 120 Albanian citizens joined jihadists in Syria and Iraq, according to police sources. Some of them took their wives, children and parents with them.

More than a dozen subsequently returned to Albania, a country with a majority Muslim population.

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