Suspected plotter of attack on Milan synagogue is arrested

Police in northern Italy have arrested a Morocco-born man suspected of planning terrorist attacks on the Milan synagogue and other targets.

Mohamed Jarmoune, 20, who has lived in Italy since childhood, was arrested early Thursday in the province of Brescia, according to Italian news reports.

Investigators reportedly found a document on his computer analyzing the security measures of Milan’s main synagogue. He also is suspected of planning attacks and organizing terror groups through Internet social networking sites, including a super-secure group on Facebook that allowed members to exchange information on using arms and explosives.

Police said a 40-year-old woman who had been in contact with the arrested man also had been arrested in Britain.

Police counter-terrorism official Claudio Galzeano described Jarmoune as a “computer whiz” who was a “sort of radicalized hacker, outside the circuit of the mosques.” Galzeano said Jarmoune had “followed the road toward an ever more fundamentalist fanaticism” via the internet.

Roberto Jarach, the president of the Milan Jewish community, said the arrest came as a surprise.

“For about two months there had been a general increase in the level of attention, signaled by the forces of order, but there did not seem to be any specific elements of concern,” he told the media. Still, Jarach said, the case did not seem to be an isolated initiative or “the work of an isolated fanatic.”