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Italian police arrest nine Turkish Hezbollah suspects

(Xinhua)

08:54, February 22, 2012

ROME, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Italian police on Tuesday arrested nine people allegedly linked to the militant Sunni Islamic group Turkish Hezbollah, local media reported.

According to the ANSA news agency, the suspects, arrested in the central city of Terni, are involved in an illegal immigration ring.

They reportedly helped Palestinian and Kurdish migrants illegally reach Italy by providing counterfeit documents after making declarations to local authorities about false stories of torture in their country of origin, on the basis of which they sought political asylum and a residence permit.

Tuesday's police operation followed the arrest of a Turkish national who was the object of an international arrest warrant for terrorism in the northern Lombardy region.

Turkish Hezbollah, which is unrelated to the militant Lebanese Shia Muslim group Hezbollah, was founded in southeastern Turkey in the 1980s with the goal of establishing a Sunni Muslim theocracy in the country, according to the U.S. National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START).

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