Africa

Algeria’s Athmane Touami arrested in Bari, Italy, accused of supporting terrorism in Paris, France

Athmane Touami, 36, of Algeria was arrested in Bari, Italy on March 8, 2021. The Algerian man also known as Tomi Mahraz is allegedly a member of the Islamic State.

Touami is accused of directly giving support for the gunmen and bombers behind the terrorist attacks at the Bataclan concert hall and the Stade de France and in three boroughs of Paris, France on November 13, 2015. Killing 130 people and wounding hundred others, the attacks were the deadliest ones in France since World War II.

According to Bari police, Touami provided counterfeit documents to the perpetrators of the attacks. He had been operating in Algeria, Italy, Belgium, France, Spain and Syria along with his brothers Medhi Touami and Lyes Touami as well as Khalid Zerkani and the late Abdelhamid Abaaoud of Belgium and several other terrorists who have yet to be identified, the authorities said.

Abaaoud was an IS extremist who masterminded the Paris attacks in 2015. He and his accomplice Chakib Akrouh were killed in a police raid on November 18, 2015.

Athmane, Mehdi and Lyes were forgers at the service of terrorist organizations. While living in Molenbeek, Brussels, Belgium, they had contact with Zerkani, a jihadist preacher who recruited young Muslims as jihadist fighters to Syria.

Since 2019, Athmane has been in prison and he is due for release on June 19, 2021. He was in the Temporary Detention Center for migrants in Bari when he was found in possession of false documents used to move freely in the Schengen Area.

 

All located in Europe, there are 26 countries in the Schengen Area namely Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. These countries have officially abolished all passport and all other types of border control at their mutual borders.

The Schengen Area functions mostly as a single jurisdiction for international travel purposes with a common visa policy. It was named after the Schengen Agreement signed in Schengen, Luxembourg in 1985.

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