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CRIME

No ties found between Marseille knife attacker and terror groups, says Tunisian government

A probe into the young Tunisian who stabbed to death two women in Marseille has uncovered no links to terrorist groups, Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed said.

No ties found between Marseille knife attacker and terror groups, says Tunisian government
Photo: AFP
“The investigation is under way and we do not really have links today or proof of any ties when this person was in Tunisia with terrorist groups or Daesh,” he told reporters after talks with his French counterpart Edouard Philippe, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.
 
IS claimed responsibility for last Sunday's attack in Marseille, saying the assailant, 29-year-old Ahmed Hanachi who stabbed to death two young women before being shot dead, was one of its “soldiers”.
 
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“We were also shocked in Tunisia as we were also victims of three terrorist attacks in 2015 and we as a society are completely opposed to these terrorist groupings,” the Tunisian premier said.
 
The assailant's friends and family members in Tunisia have dismissed any notion that he was motivated by jihadist aims, depicting him as a heavy drug user who had lost his way.
 
According to his father, Noureddine Hanachi, he left Tunisia for Europe at the age of 17 but often visited the family home in Bizerte, north of Tunis.
 

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CRIME

Italian killer with mafia links arrested in France after 16 years on the run

A convicted murderer linked to one of Italy's most powerful mafia organisations was arrested on Thursday in central France, Interpol said.

Italian killer with mafia links arrested in France after 16 years on the run

Edgardo Greco, 63, is suspected of belonging to the notorious ‘Ndrangheta, a powerful mafia organisation in Calabria, southern Italy.

He is wanted in Italy to serve a life sentence for the murders of Stefano and Giuseppe Bartolomeo, and accused of the attempted murder of Emiliano Mosciaro “as part of a mafia war between the Pino Sena and Perna Pranno gangs that marked the early 1990s”, Interpol said.

The Bartolomeo brothers were beaten to death with iron bars in a fish warehouse, Italian police said.

Greco’s arrest in central France came with help for Italy and France from the “Cooperation against ‘Ndrangheta Project” (I-CAN) run by Interpol, which facilitates police cooperation between its 195 member states.

READ ALSO: Italian police seize €250 million and arrest 56 in latest mafia blitz

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi, quoted in Interpol’s statement, said the arrests demonstrated his country’s commitment to “fighting all forms of organised crime and locating dangerous fugitives”.

The ‘Ndrangheta is considered Italy’s most extensive and powerful mafia group, Interpol said, operating worldwide and with strong ties to the trade in cocaine bound for Europe from South America

I-CAN’s job is help raise awareness of ‘Ndrangheta and their modus operandi, sharing police information to dismantle their networks and operations, the agency said.

The arrest of Greco, who worked in the evenings in a pizza restaurant under an assumed named according to Italian media, came a week after Italian police said it had dismantled a ‘Ndrangheta mafia ring dominating a large area of southern Calabria and seized assets exceeding 250 million euros.

Fifty-six people, many already in prison, were put under criminal investigation for a series of crimes including mafia-related conspiracy, extortion, kidnapping, bribery and possession of weapons, police and prosecutors said.

The arrest of Greco comes just over two weeks after Italian police arrested one of the most notorious bosses of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra mafia, Matteo Messina Denaro, who had been on the run for 30 years.

The 60-year-old was arrested after visiting a health clinic where he was being treated in the Sicilian capital Palermo

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