A commander of the Islamic State (Isis) terror group convicted in Italy for terrorist recruitment has been arrested in Sudan. Moez Fezzani, popularly known by his nom de guerre Abu Nassim, lived in Italy for most of his 20s before becoming an IS commander in Libya.
"I would like to express my satisfaction over the anti-terrorist operation that has led to the arrest in Sudan of the Tunisian terrorist Moez Fezzani," Giacomo Stucchi, a senator who heads the parliamentary committee that oversees Italy's secret services, was quoted by the AFP as saying.
He added Italian intelligence played a majour role in the investigation that resulted in Nassim's arrest.
The Islamist militant was found months after Libyan authorities warned Italy of the presence of a Milan-based cell affiliated to him.
Who is Moez Fezzani, aka Abu Nassim?
Nassim was born in Tunis in 1969 and holds both a Libyan and a Tunisian passport. He first arrived in Italy in 1989 to work on building sites and lived in several cities across the peninsula. He is believed to have been part of a Milan-based Salafist group that recruited fighters to send to conflict zones, including in Bosnia, in the late 1990s.
Suspected of trying to radicalise and recruit immigrants and working with a terrorist cell close to the al-Qaeda terror group, Nassim went underground in 1997.
He resurfaced in Pakistan, where he was briefly detained due to issues related to his visa. He was arrested by US forces in Afghanistan in 2001 and detained at the Bagram airbase detention facility until 2009, when he was returned to Italy to stand trial on terrorist recruitment charges.
Nassim spent two years in jail but was acquitted in 2012 and deported to Tunisia, from where he fled to Syria, then Libya, to fight with IS. However, two years later, he was convicted on appeal and sentenced to five years and eight months in jail by the public prosecutor in Milan.
In addition, Tunisia issued a warrant for his arrest in connection with the March 2015 Bardo Museum attack in Tunis, where gunmen killed 21 tourists and a policeman.
Earlier this year, some reports – later refuted – claimed Nassim had been arrested in Libya as he was trying to reach Tunisia.