La Repubblica: Presence of IS in Albania is Powder Keg

Recently formed radical groups in Albania represent a “powder keg” for Italy, especially the region of Puglia, writes the Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica.

The article treats the radical Islamic preachers that attract and recruit young Albanian men on behalf of the Islamic State and the jihad in Syria.

Italian and other Western intelligence services say that these preachers are located in the impoverished zones in south-eastern Albania. A majority of Albanians recruited for the jihad in Syria comes from villages such as Leshnica, Zagorçan, and Rëmenj.

Albania’s geographical proximity and the presence of a large number of Albanians employed in organized crime and drug trafficking makes Puglia the most favorable Italian region to shelter Albanian radical islamists.

The article mentions as example the case of Mohamad Bouhlel, the perpetrator of the attack in Nice on the evening of July 14, 2016. The automatic weapon he used to shoot at the police as supplied by an Albanian couple, Artan H. and Enkelejda Z. They have been charged with supplying a weapon in relation to a terrorist crime.

In the context of the fight against terrorism and organized crime Italy has signed an agreement with Serbia concerning real-time exchange of information, aiding in the identification of every person that passes through the port of Bari. Thanks to this system, it was discovered that Ahmed Dhamani, one of the supporters of the November 13, 2015, terrorist attack on Paris, had traveled in August to Greece to plan the attack.