By no means flagged as a hazard, Good attacker traveled unimpeded


TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — The 21-year-old Tunisian behind the assault that killed three in a Good, France, church had small-time run-ins with the regulation as a teen, however nothing that alerted Tunisian authorities to attainable extremist leanings.

That lacking crimson flag meant that when he finally was served an expulsion order from Italy, which he reached illegally by boat, he was mainly free to go the place he happy. So Ibrahim Issaoui then traveled apparently unimpeded to France.

Italy’s inside minister, Luciana Lamorgese, informed The Related Press on Friday that Issaoui had not set off warning bells with Tunisian authorities or intelligence companies. She added that Italy’s overburdened repatriation facilities had no place for him, regardless of agreements with Tunisia governing the return of residents who don’t qualify for asylum in Italy.

“Clearly, we give priority to people who find themselves signaled by regulation enforcement or by Tunisian authorities,’’ Lamorgese mentioned. “The variety of spots aren’t infinite, and he couldn’t subsequently be positioned inside a repatriation heart.’’

The spokesperson for Tunisia’s anti-terrorism prosecutor’s workplace, Mohsen Dali, mentioned Issaoui is just not labeled as being a terrorist aspect to the safety and judicial authorities.

“Throughout his teenage years, he was concerned in frequent regulation instances for violence,” he mentioned, with out elaborating.

Issaoui’s mom informed investigators that he led a traditional life for somebody of his age, Dali mentioned. He drank alcohol and wore unusual garments. He began praying two years in the past, however didn’t have any suspicious associates, he mentioned.

In line with Tunisian media, Issaoui grew up in a household of 10 youngsters in Sfax, an essential financial hub in southern Tunisia, and labored as a mechanic in a workshop for a month-to-month wage of 300 dinars (lower than 100 euros). He then opened a vegetable stall in a store that additionally bought gasoline illegally, Dali informed the AP.

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He selected Sept. 14 to attempt to enter Italy illegally, having failed in a earlier try.

He arrived in Italy’s southernmost island of Lampedusa on Sept. 20, and was transferred to Puglia, the place he was quarantined for the coronavirus on a ship with some 800 different migrants. His expulsion order was dated Oct. 9.

“Then we all know he remained in Italy a couple of extra days, then went on his solution to France,’’ Lamorgese mentioned, including that it was not clear when he crossed the border. “The French border controls are very severe, however evidently this time he slipped by and managed to enter French territory.”

He’s believed to have traveled first to Paris, with Tunisian officers saying he arrived in Good the day earlier than the assault.

Authorities in each Italy and Tunisia are cooperating with France on the investigation.

Greater than 11,000 Tunisians have arrived in Italy this 12 months, placing a serious pressure on the nation’s capacity to handle them. Lamorgese has traveled twice to Tunisia twice this 12 months, successful agreements to ship two flights per week with 40 Tunisians every.

Besides, Italy has solely been capable of repatriate 1,186 this 12 months — 1,032 since the latest settlement in July. Lamorgese additionally famous that the nation’s 10 repatriation facilities maintain residents of many nations who don’t settle for their return in any respect.

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Lamorgese has blamed the rise in Tunisian arrivals on the nation’s socio-economic issues which were exacerbated by COVID-19, and has provided Italian help to deal with them.

Tunisians usually have headed to France, the place they could have associates or kin — though this seems to not have been the case for Issaoui, whose household mentioned he knew nobody there. Through the Arab Spring protests in 2011, 28,000 Tunisians arrived in Italy and solely 800 stayed, the inside minister famous.

Lamorgese, who has confronted criticism from opposition politicians over the attacker’s trajectory by Italy, known as for assist from the remainder of Europe in managing these flows, and for solidarity within the face of terrorism.

“I believe we in Europe must work collectively for a similar aim, to defeat terrorism, as a result of it may hit anybody, in any nation,’’ Lamorgese mentioned.

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Trisha Thomas reported from Rome. Colleen Barry contributed from Milan.

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