Italy Arrest of Tunisia Attack Suspect Fuels Debate on Migrants

Italian police have arrested a Moroccan man suspected of helping to plan and carry out the March attack on Tunisia’s Bardo Museum in which 24 people died.

Bruno Megale, head of the anti-terrorism DIGOS police in Milan, said at a news conference that Abdel Majid Touil, 22, was arrested in Gaggiano near Italy’s business capital Tuesday evening.

Majid Touil was being sought for his alleged role in the planning and execution of the attack on the museum on March 18, Megale said. He had crossed the Mediterranean in February, arriving in Porto Empedocle on the coast of Sicily. Majid Touil was at the time served with an expulsion order, Megale said.

The news that Majid Touil had crossed the Mediterranean on a boat with migrants sparked more debate over how to deal with such flows.

Matteo Salvini, leader of the opposition Northern League, on his Facebook page urged authorities to put a stop to departures of migrants from across the Mediterranean. He also called for a suspension of the Schengen accord on open borders within the European Union.

Daniela Santanche, a parliamentarian with the Forza Italia party of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi, called for Interior Minister Angelino Alfano to resign. “It’s incredible, this government instead of defending us from cut-throats has transformed Italy into a useful gangway for terrorists,” Santanche said.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, in a message on Twitter, congratulated police for the arrest. Last month he wrote in an article in the New York Times that “not all those who are on the traffickers’ boats are innocent families.”

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