Italian police have arrested eight people on suspicion of migrant smuggling and falsifying documents.
The leader is purported to be a Tunisian named Kamel Khemiri, who through phone tapping the police found had pledged allegiance to Islamic militant group ISIL
Khemiri is said to have self-radicalised through social media and the internet, and reportedly celebrated the Paris terror attacks in November last year.
His Facebook page is littered with radical militant posts including one that reads: “As long as I live and after I die I will be an Islamic State man,
The group of eight, made up entirely of non-italians, made fake contracts and payslips to secure work visas for illegal migrants.
On Wednesday, Italy announced an investigation into whether ISIL is involved in organising the passage of migrants across the Mediterranean.
About 150 migrants wait aboard a rubber boat to be assisted by an NGO. Mediterranean Sea, north of Libya. pic.twitter.com/TnbiJ6z2Bw— Santi Palacios (@SantiPalacios) July 30, 2016
Over four hundred and twenty thousand migrants have made their way to Italy from Africa since the beginning of 2014.
Packed into less than seaworthy vessels they risk everything to try and make their way to a fresh start in Europe.
They rarely known what awaits them at the end of their perilous journey, for many, their bid for a new life ends in death.