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Italy holds two suspected al-Qaeda masterminds

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Italy holds two suspected al-Qaeda masterminds

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Anti-terrorist police in Italy claim to have caught two al-Qaeda masterminds, in charge of training suicide-bombers and planning to build a super bomb. The prosecutor in the city of Bari, where Bassam Ayachi and Raphael Gendron are being held said he was convinced they have got the right men.

Investigators eavesdropped on their conversations in Bari prison after they were arrested in November last year on suspicion of bringing illegal immigrants into Italy. Police said Ayachi, who is a Syrian imam, and the French computer engineer Gendron, talked about buying vast numbers of grenades to build a super-bomb. Investigators said they found documents in the men’s possession, including the will of a suicide-bomber. And they claim the men discussed terrorist attacks against the UK and France including using a plane to hit Britain, and a strike on Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. Police stressed, though, there was no immediate or concrete threat. Ayachi’s son and Gendron, who operated an extremist website, were convicted in Brussels earlier this year for inciting racial hatred and violence against Jews.