Police in the southern Italian city of Bari have arrested an Iraqi man suspected of helping 11 foreign Islamist militants come to Italy, from where they had moved on to France, Belgium and other European countries.
Special operations police named the man as Majid Muhamad, 45, who they said had obtained false passports to enable the suspected militants to enter Italy between March and September this year.
The police said Muhamad, who was released last year after serving 10 years in jail for international terrorism, had also found temporary accommodation for the suspected militants, who came from Pakistan, Egypt, Iran, Morocco and Turkey.
Police said the man was tied to an imam who had lived in the Molenbeek neighbourhood of Brussels, but they did not say there were any direct links to the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.
Italy has increased its controls on Islamist suspects following the Paris attacks.
In recent days it has expelled four Moroccans suspected of promoting jihadism and arrested four Kosovars suspected of being part of a jihadist cell that spread Islamist propaganda and made threats against Pope Francis.