Searches in Italy in aftermath of attack on Swedes in Brussels

Italian anti-terror police on Tuesday searched the homes of eighteen people believed to be linked to Abdesalem Lassoued, the Tunisian who shot dead two Swedes in Brussels on 16 October. They are said to have been part of Lassoued's "circle of virtual relationships" and also posted messages on social media "from religious extremist circles".

The eighteen people are of North African origin and live in Bologna, Palermo and Turin, according to a press release from the Italian anti-terrorism police. They are believed to have been in contact with Lassoued during his stay in Italy between 2012 and 2016.

Europol investigation

The searches are part of an investigation by the Belgian police and Europol following the attack on 16 October. During the attack, Abdesalem Lassoued shot dead two Swedes and injured a third. Lassoued himself was shot dead by police the following day.

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In a video claiming responsibility, Lassoued said he had explicitly targeted Sweden because several Korans had been burned there in the weeks before the attack. Islamic State claimed responsibility the day after the attack.

A few days after the attack, Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne resigned following revelations that Tunisia had requested Lassoued's extradition in 2022. This extradition request was not acted upon by the magistrate in charge. Van Quickenborne said he was taking political responsibility for this "unacceptable mistake".



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