Italian authorities have captured a senior Tunisian terror operative who has been linked to the terror attacks at both Bardo and Sousse.
Moez Fezzani, described as a “veteran commander of the Islamic State” and Tunisia’s “most wanted terrorist,” was arrested by Italian agents on Monday after being tracked down by intelligence services. Fezzani, also referred to as Abu Nassim, will face terror-related charges in Italy.
“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,” said Italian senator Giacomo Stucchi to the AFP.
Reports indicate that Fezzani, born in 1969, has an extensive history of international terrorism, and a dizzying display of criminal connections that put him in the ranks of top terror organizations, including the Islamic State (Daesh), Al-Qaeda, Ansar-al-Sharia, and the Taliban.
Fezzani moved to Italy in 1989, where he worked in construction and reportedly joined an Al-Qaeda affiliated recruiting network.
After making his way through Pakistan to join Osama bin Laden’s troops in Afghanistan, he was seized by U.S. authorities and held in Bagram Airbase detention facility for years. Nearly a decade later, Fezzani was transferred to Italy on charges of international terror recruitment.
Since then, Fezzani has reportedly been linked to Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia, Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria and in Libya with various terror operatives.
According to Tunisian authorities, Fezzani played a major role in plotting the deadly terror attacks in Bardo and Sousse, which together claimed the lives of 61 people. He has also been connected to the March insurgency at Ben Guerdane, where armed militants attempted to seize control of the town before being repelled by security services.
The identity of another Tunisian terror convict, Adel Ben Mabrouk, has been the source of some confusion. Mabrouk, who also has traces in Italy and boasts extensive ties to international terror groups, was held in Guantanamo by U.S. authorities from 2001 to 2008, and has previously been identified as Moez Fezzani. What connection there is between the two men remains unclear.
Contacted by Tunisia Live, Tunisia’s Ministry of the Interior declined to comment on Fezzani’s arrest. The Tunisian Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Foreign Affairs were unable to be reached after multiple attempts to contact them before publication.
Additional reporting by Inel Tarfa