[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 March, 2004, 12:58 GMT 13:58 UK
Italy blast victim 'was anti-war'
By Frances Kennedy
BBC Rome correspondent

Italian investigators are widening their probe into a Moroccan man who blew himself up, after finding a letter from the man saying his suicide was in protest at the war in Iraq.

Thirty-five year old Moustafa Chauki filled his car with gas cylinders and set fire to it outside a McDonalds, in the northern city of Brescia.

Damaged car outside McDonalds
Italy's secret services warn of an upsurge of radical Islamic activism
In the letter he specified that he was not a member of al-Qaeda or any terrorist group, but was angry about the war in Iraq and blamed Italy for supporting it.

Mr Chauki had been in Italy for 16 years and was considered well integrated.

But since separating from his wife he had lived alone in a caravan, held intermittent jobs and begun drinking.

Last Sunday he filled his car with gas cylinders and set it alight outside a McDonalds drive-in restaurant in Brescia.

Police initially played down the kamikaze hypothesis.

Radical fears

However, a letter written by Mr Chauki and posted before his death indicates he was planning not just to kill himself.

He says he was acting in the name of Allah for war in Iraq, which punished innocent people, and he criticised Italy for being too friendly with Israel and the US.

Mr Chauki stated that he was not a member of al-Qaeda or any other group.

His gesture raises the spectre of emulation of Islamic terrorist activity by disturbed or depressed individuals.

Italy's secret services have warned about the upsurge of radical Islamic activism in recent months and the risks that individuals or small groups, with no links to organised terror, could embark on attacks here.

Last year a Jordanian man died by blowing himself up in a car near a synagogue in the central Italian city of Modena.

Driver dies in Italian car blast
11 Dec 03  |  Europe
Police pounce on 'al-Qaeda cell'
28 Nov 03  |  Europe
Country profile: Italy
24 Mar 04  |  Country profiles

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific