Italy puts Albanian IS ‘supporter’ under surveillance

Bari, Feb 10 (IANS/AKI) Police in southern Italy on Thursday seized an Albanian’s passport and banned him from leaving his place of residence after they found jihadist propaganda videos, including executions staged by the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group on his smartphone and computer.

Named by local daily La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno as Edmond Ahmetaj, he has been put under special surveillance for two years, during which time he may not leave the town of Noci, near Bari in the Puglia region or use the internet.

Ahmetaj is also required to take part in a “de-radicalisation” programme on the orders of a court in Bari, police said.

The 38-year-old suspect is under investigation for international terrorism and is accused of proselytising extensively for IS online and of being in contact with a network of jihadist groups, police said.

Evidence against Ahmetaj gathered by investigators included violent jihadist videos and Facebook comments mocking the victims of IS’s November 2015 attacks in Paris and lauding the extremist group, police said.

Investigators said they also found a photo on Ahmetaj’s Facebook page of him holding an assault weapon and a video urging the conquest of Italy by IS.

He also shared a video of an interview with jailed hate preacher Anjem Choudary in which Choudary threatens Italy and claims IS will turn it into an Islamic ‘Caliphate’ ruled under Sharia law.

A doctored version of the video game “Assassin’s Creed” in which the original soundtrack had been replaced with IS propaganda railing against Britain was also found on Ahmetaj’s electronic devices, according to police.

Ahmetaj lives with his family and acquired Italian citizenship in May last year. He was put under investigation shortly after IS’s attacks on Paris by gunmen and suicide bombers on November 13, 2015 which killed 130 people.