Italian police said Friday they have broken up a ring of Kurds who allegedly recruited and trained fighters for terror attacks against Turkey. Eleven people were indicted and accused of association with the aim of international terrorism.
An Italian police operation Friday targeted a group suspected of recruiting fighters for the militant separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party known as the PKK. Authorities in Venice issued 11 arrest warrants: 10 for ethnic Kurds and one Italian suspect, a far-left activist. Dozens more are under investigation for recruiting and training.
Police said the training of the fighters took place in the Tuscan countryside but also in other areas of northern Italy. Those arrested are accused of association with the aim of international terrorism.
The investigation was launched in September of 2008. The investigation was carried out in Italy and France and police said they discovered a "recruitment district" tasked with finding resources and people to fight against Turkish interests along the country's border with Iraq.
Venice anti-terrorism police squad official, Diego Parente, said their operational bases were mainly in Italy and France. He adds that those recruited were young men but also many women who were then taken to these training camps in Italy for ideological indoctrination and then abroad for training with weapons.
Parente said the Italian investigation and operation was carried out in parallel to a French probe but also involved police in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.
The PKK has fought since 1984 for autonomy from Turkey and has been engaged in an armed struggle against Turkey that has claimed thousands of lives.
The organization is listed as a terrorist group by the European Union and the United States.