Italian anti-terrorism police have announced the dismantling of a suspected international network believed to be smuggling migrants across Europe and funneling funds to the Islamic State.
A judge in northern Italy issued 14 arrest warrants for charges including money laundering, association with terrorist groups, and conspiracy to finance terrorism. Out of the arrested 11 were born in Syria and three were Moroccan and were living in Italy, Sweden, and Hungary.
Police tracked the laundering of about two million euros ($2.4 million), some of which had been sent to the former Nusra Front, which cut ties with al Qaeda and rebranded in 2016, and now spearheads an alliance of Islamist groups.
The largest of the money came from smuggling people into Italy and other European countries. Statistics indicate that over 600,000 migrants reached Italian shores in the past four years.
Italian anti-terrorism police said that the money funneled to the Nusra Front and ISIS to buy weapons, pick-up trucks” and other battle supplies. While it is not immediately clear if the funds were to be used for attacks in Europe, the dismantled cell puts a huge dent in the financial capabilities of the two terror organization.