Overview:  Italy collaborated closely with the United States and other partners in its international counterterrorism efforts in 2022.  Domestically, Italy aggressively investigated and prosecuted terrorist suspects and regularly deported foreign nationals for terrorism-related security reasons.

As a member of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and co-lead of the Counter-ISIS Finance and Africa Focus Groups, Italy was among the largest contributors of troops in Iraq and led the Defeat-ISIS Coalition’s efforts to train Iraqi police and security forces.  Italy remained one of the top troop contributors to NATO, the EU, the United Nations, and other bilateral and multilateral operations that promote global security, with a particular focus on the wider Mediterranean region.

Italy hosts NATO’s Strategic Direction — South Hub — as a forum to connect NATO allies with partners and institutions in North Africa, the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Sahel to promote dialogue and stability.  Italian authorities have identified several potential threats to the country, including terrorists from North Africa, returning FTFs, anarchists, REMVEs, and militants from the Western Balkans.

Italian and U.S. authorities regularly share CT best practices under the auspices of the U.S.-Italy Counterterrorism Working Group, a component of the U.S.-Italy Strategic Dialogue.  Italy is working to improve its screening — including for terrorism, of migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees — in consultation with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

2022 Terrorist Incidents:  There were no reported terrorist incidents in Italy in 2022.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security:  There have been no changes since 2021.Italian law enforcement has advanced capacity to detect and deter terrorist activity, links, and associations within its borders.  Authorities employ those capabilities to counter terrorist recruitment, radicalization to violence, and networking.  Law enforcement agencies and intelligence services coordinate their efforts and meet regularly to review terrorist threats and share information.  The Italian government continued to make use of 2005 legislation facilitating the detention of terrorist suspects and expedited procedures for expelling noncitizens suspected of endangering national security.  Police monitoring of jihadist media sites revealed that Italy remains a potential target of terror attacks, owing in part to the presence of the Vatican.

Prominent arrests and expulsions included the following:

  • On May 13, police in Turin arrested Italian national Federico Buono, suspected of plotting to bomb a local courthouse.  Investigators found an explosive device in his home.  Buono was close to the South American violent extremist group Individualistas Tendiendo a lo
  • On June 15, police in Trento arrested a husband and wife of Kosovar descent who had allegedly planned a violent attack with an explosive device on behalf of ISIS.  They were both born in Italy, were radicalized to violence online, and hoped to join a terrorist organization in Nigeria.  They were accused of recruitment, association, and training for the purpose of terrorism.
  • On November 15, prosecutors in Naples ordered the arrest of four Italian nationals, members of a neo-Nazi group called the Order of Hagal.  They were suspected of planning a terrorist attack against a police station in Campania.  Two other persons were under investigation for links to similar organizations, including a Ukrainian former resident of Naples suspected of links with the Azov Regiment and Ukrainian ultranationalist groups Pravi Sector and Centuria.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism:  Italy is a member of FATF, and its FIU, the Financial Intelligence Unit of Italy (UIF), is a member of the Egmont Group.  There were no significant changes in 2022.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2022 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes.

Countering Violent Extremism:  The Penitentiary Administration’s Central Investigative Center continued to carry out investigations and respond to cases of possible radicalization to violence in Italian jails and prisons.  Italian authorities also increased monitoring and prevention efforts to identify potential lone-actor attackers online.

International and Regional Cooperation:  Italy continued to support counterterrorism efforts in regional and multilateral organizations, including the following:

  • UN
  • NATO
  • European Union
  • G-7
  • G-20
  • OSCE
  • Global Counterterrorism Forum
  • Council of Europe
  • Financial Action Task Force

Italy continued its bilateral capacity building efforts in Libya, focusing on coast guard cooperation and border-security measures.  Italy also hosted and led EU Operation Irini, charged with implementing the UN arms embargo on Libya.  The Italian military continued its training activities with local security forces in Niger to strengthen border security, counter illicit trafficking, and combat threats to regional security, including threats from terrorism.  Italian forces also were in Mali as part of the Takuba Task Force, which trains and assists the Malian Armed Forces in the fight against armed jihadist groups and as part of the EU Training Mission in Mali.

Italy made a substantial contribution to the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), including as a co-chair of the Criminal Justice and Rule of Law working group with Nigeria.  Italy has also contributed to the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund, an Inspired Institution of the GCTF, and finalized a project to provide technical assistance on battlefield evidence to multiagency stakeholders in Burkina Faso.  The project began in 2021 in cooperation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.  Italy also hosted an Africa Focus Group meeting in March for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.

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