Pakistani terror suspect who plotted IS attack captained Italy’s cricket team: Report
A Pakistani man who was expelled from Italy on charges that he plotted a terror attack in the name of the Islamic State reportedly captained an Italian cricket team.
According to an Italian newspaper report, 26-year-old Aftab Farook has been identified as having captained the under-19 national cricket team in 2009. According to photos published in 2009 by Sportweek, a weekly insert in Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport daily, the suspect could be identified as the captain of the under-19 national team, wearing the Italian colours jersey in international competitions, the report said.
Farook was allegedly caught on a wire-tap talking about a bomb to target places such as wine shop in Milan or the airport of Bergamo in northern Italy. The 26-year-old, an active supporter of ISIS, was planning to go to Syria to join the terror organisation, Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said on Tuesday.
Fabio Marabini, president of the Kingsgrove Milano cricket club and a close paternal figure to Farook told La Stampa daily, “It hit us like lightning out of the blue, I still don't believe it.”
“I spoke to him just before they put him on the flight for Islamabad. He thanked me for everything I've done for him over the years and he told me he was scared, because he no longer has any ties in Pakistan,” he further added.
Farook was keen of snowboarding with his friends and also worked for the sporting goods retailer Decathlon, La Stampa reported.
“He would never have hurt a fly. He was made captain of the national team precisely because he was a trustworthy person, always ready to help others,” a concerned Marabini was quoted as saying.
However, La Stampa also cited investigative reports by anti-mafia police and said that Farook had changed over the year and started beating his wife and forcing her to wear a burqa.
Reports further said that Farook was expelled from Italy on Tuesday but his family plans to challenge the expulsion at the European Court of Human Rights.