Converted, radicalized, and controlled by half of Europe's intelligence


The woman involved in yesterday’s attack has lived in Vezia since 2017, She has been watched closely by Fedpol and other European agencies

 Converted, radicalized, and controlled by half of Europe's intelligence
Converted, radicalized and controlled by half of Europe's intelligence © CDT / Gabriele Putzu

Converted, radicalized, and controlled by half of Europe's intelligence

Converted, radicalized and controlled by half of Europe's intelligence © CDT / Gabriele Putzu

An alleged terrorist attack took place in a department store in Lugano The Federal Police released a tweet sharing that they were investigating what happened on the fifth floor of the Manor. The tweet was posted while a press conference was underway in Bellinzona with the president of the government Norman Gobbi, the commander of the cantonal police Matteo Cocchi and the director of the Federal Police Office Nicoletta della Valle.

Under control abroad

Few details were provided, According to our source, the Ticino woman from Vezia is said to be married to an Iraqi citizen. His name is on the radar of several European intelligence agencies, including France. The cantonal police and Fedpol explained - this was confirmed between the lines during the press conference – the woman has had checks in the past. It is not clear - but it will certainly be a matter of investigation

Under investigation in 2017

Fedpol officially confirmed that the woman had come under investigation in 2017 during an investigation related to jihadist terrorism.

The hypothesis: she converted

If the information in our possession is correct, therefore, the 28-year-old would have first converted to Islam and then radicalized. As mentioned, however, at the moment, there are no certainties. We are unable to tell you whether compromising material was found in the home of the woman, which was searched yesterday. According to the testimony of more than one person, the woman during the stabbing at Manor, would have uttered sentences with clear references to terrorism.

To be clarified

Investigators therefore prefer the terrorist matrix. However, some aspects of the incident remain to be clarified. One is about premeditation. According to what was leaked, the woman would have taken the knife used for the alleged attack was taken directly from the department store (that is, she would not have brought it from her home) and then would have gone up one or two floors - to the fifth - where she would have started to strike the passers-by (one woman was seriously injured, another sustained minor injuries) before being immobilized by two clients.

Gobbi: "Maximum gravity"

“On behalf of the Council of State - said Norman Gobbi - I express my closeness to the victims, their families and those who were present. And I thank the citizens who stopped the woman”

The president of the government recalled that, if confirmed, this will be the first attack carried out on Ticino soil. An attack - pointed out Nicoletta della Valle - which in some ways recalls the one that occurred in September in Morges , when a twenty-nine-year-old Portuguese lost his life after being stabbed.

Cocchi: "Threat present"

Commander Cocchi recalled that in Switzerland and in Ticino the guard has never been let down. "What has recently happened in countries close to us (in France and Austria) shows that terrorism is always a present threat". Suffice it to say that after the Vienna attack, links emerged with cells present in German-speaking Switzerland, especially in the Zurich area. The commander then wanted to reassure the population about the reaction capacity of our police forces. "The collaboration between police is also important, which always works very well." Collaboration nationally, but also internationally.

"It does not surprise me"

According to the director of Fedpol it is too early to link the Lugano case to others. "But I can say - Della Valle emphasized - what has happened does not surprise me".

Lone wolf?

Norman Gobbi spoke of a "lone wolf". Throughout yesterday, the cantonal and federal investigators worked to try to understand if the woman actually acted alone or if there are accomplices in the area. Updates in this sense could arrive today.

The risk

Switzerland, it has always been said, is not a major target for Islamic extremists. But single cells or lone wolves, even simply for the spirit of emulation, could strike on our territory. Also, because recruitment often takes place in a "casual" way (often through social networks, or in a mosque) and in an equally casual way, then, the target to be hit can be chosen.

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