Italy arrests Moroccan man accused in Tunisia Bardo attack

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ROME (AP) — Italian police have arrested a Moroccan man on suspicion he helped organize and execute the March 18 attack on Tunisia's Bardo Museum that left 22 people dead, authorities said Wednesday.

Abdelmajid Touil was arrested Tuesday night on a Tunisian arrest warrant at the home of his mother and two brothers in Gaggiano, near Milan, anti-terrorism investigator Bruno Megale told reporters.

The only trace that Italian authorities had of Touil prior to his arrest was that he had arrived in Italy on Feb. 17 along with migrants from a smuggler's boat, police said. He was identified by authorities in Porto Empedocle, Sicily, and was subsequently issued an expulsion decree, Megale said.

Those decrees are usually given to migrants heading to Europe for economic reasons — not refugees from conflict who could apply for asylum. It's not clear when or if he left Italy or how he might have returned.

Italian police, however, believe he went to back to Tunisia to help organize the March 18 attack in Tunis.

Anti-immigrant politicians have warned that Islamic extremists might enter Italy via any one of the dozens of migrant boats setting off weekly from Libya for European shores. Confirmation that Abdelmajid had made at least one trip to Italy by boat has fueled criticism of the massive, Italy-led Mediterranean operation to rescue would-be refugees crossing the Mediterranean.

The accusations in the Tunisian arrest warrant against Touil include premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit attacks against the state, belonging to a terrorist group and recruiting and training others to commit terrorist attacks, Megale said.

"He was wanted internationally for co-participation in, planning and executing the March 18 attack on the Bardo Museum in Tunis," Megale said.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for attacking the Bardo, Tunisia's leading historical museum, which has a trove of Roman mosaics. Gunmen opened fire on tourists getting out of buses and then entered the museum and fired on more tourists inside. Two gunmen were killed in a shootout with police.

A number of people have been arrested in connection with the Bardo attack, but the Tunisian interior ministry has said the mastermind of the attack is still at large.

Tunisian authorities do not think Abdelmajid is that mastermind. But the spokesman for Tunisia's interior ministry, Mohammed Ali Aroui, confirmed that Abdelmajid was the subject of an international arrest warrant for his involvement in the attack.

"He participated indirectly in the attack, supporting the ones who carried it out," he told The Associated Press, adding that authorities were now working on Abdelmajid's extradition to Tunisia.

Two Moroccans were involved in the Bardo attack as well as two Algerians, added Aroui, although the killing was only carried out by the two Tunisian shooters.

Some 20 people have been arrested in connection with the Bardo attack. Ten days after it took place, security forces in southern Tunisia killed nine militants led by an Algerian that the government has also linked to the attack.

Italian police said they were able to identify Touil in part after his mother reported that her son's passport was missing immediately after the Bardo attack.

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Italy arrests Moroccan man accused in Tunisia Bardo attack
TUNIS, TUNISIA - MARCH 18 : Museum attack hostages are seen after Tunisian Security forces start an operation as gunmen reportedly took hostages at the Bardo Museum in Tunis, Tunisia on March 18, 2015. Gunmen opened fire at the Bardo Museum in Tunisia's capital, killing 21 people including 17 tourists, the Tunisian Prime Minister said. (Photo by Ezer Mnasri/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
TUNIS, TUNISIA - MARCH 18 : Tunisian security forces leave the Bardo Museum after an operation in Tunis, Tunisia on March 18, 2015. Gunmen opened fire at the Bardo Museum in Tunisia's capital, killing 21 people including 17 tourists, the Tunisian Prime Minister said. (Photo by Ahmet Izgi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A member of the Tunisian security forces stands guard near the National Bardo Museum in Tunis on March 19, 2015, on the aftermath of an attack on foreign tourists. Tunisia's president promised to wage a 'merciless war against terrorism' after gunmen killed at least 17 foreign tourists and two Tunisians in a daylight attack in the birthplace of the Arab Spring. AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAID (Photo credit should read FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images)
TUNIS, TUNISIA - MARCH 18 : Wounded museum attack victims are taken to nearby hospitals for treatment in Tunis, Tunisia on March 18, 2015. Gunmen opened fire at the Bardo Museum in Tunisia's capital, killing 21 people including 17 tourists, the Tunisian Prime Minister said. (Photo by Amine Landoulsi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Tunisian security forces stand guard near the National Bardo Museum in Tunis on March 19, 2015, on the aftermath of an attack on foreign tourists. Tunisia's president promised to wage a 'merciless war against terrorism' after gunmen killed at least 17 foreign tourists and two Tunisians in a daylight attack in the birthplace of the Arab Spring. AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAID (Photo credit should read FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images)
ALTERNATIVE CROP Tunisian security forces stand guard near the National Bardo Museum in Tunis on March 19, 2015, on the aftermath of an attack on foreign tourists. Tunisia's president promised to wage a 'merciless war against terrorism' after gunmen killed at least 17 foreign tourists and two Tunisians in a daylight attack in the birthplace of the Arab Spring. AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAID (Photo credit should read FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images)
Tunisian security forces stand guard near the National Bardo Museum in Tunis on March 19, 2015, on the aftermath of an attack on foreign tourists. Tunisia's president promised to wage a 'merciless war against terrorism' after gunmen killed at least 17 foreign tourists and two Tunisians in a daylight attack in the birthplace of the Arab Spring. AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAID (Photo credit should read FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images)
TUNIS, TUNISIA - MARCH 18 : Museum attack hostages are seen after Tunisian Security forces start an operation as gunmen reportedly took hostages at the Bardo Museum in Tunis, Tunisia on March 18, 2015. Gunmen opened fire at the Bardo Museum in Tunisia's capital, killing 21 people including 17 tourists, the Tunisian Prime Minister said. (Photo by Ezer Mnasri/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
TUNIS, TUNISIA - MARCH 18 : Museum attack hostages are seen after Tunisian Security forces start an operation at the Bardo Museum in Tunis, Tunisia on March 18, 2015. Gunmen opened fire at the Bardo Museum in Tunisia's capital, killing 21 people including 17 tourists, the Tunisian Prime Minister said. (Photo by Ezer Mnasri/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
TUNIS, TUNISIA - MARCH 18 : Members of the Tunisian armed forces take up positions during an operation at the Bardo Museum in Tunis, Tunisia on March 18, 2015. Gunmen opened fire at the Bardo Museum in Tunisia's capital, killing 21 people including 17 tourists, the Tunisian Prime Minister said. (Photo by Ezer Mnasri/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
TUNIS, TUNISIA - MARCH 18 : A Tunisian security force helicopter take security measures around the Bardo Museum after an attack in Tunis, Tunisia on March 18, 2015. Gunmen opened fire at the Bardo Museum in Tunisia's capital, killing 21 people including 17 tourists, the Tunisian Prime Minister said. (Photo by Amine Landoulsi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
TUNIS, TUNISIA - MARCH 18 : Tunisian security forces take security measures around the Bardo Museum after an attack in Tunis, Tunisia on March 18, 2015. Gunmen opened fire at the Bardo Museum in Tunisia's capital, killing 21 people including 17 tourists, the Tunisian Prime Minister said. (Photo by Amine Landoulsi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
TUNIS, TUNISIA - MARCH 18 : Tunisian security forces take security measures around the Bardo Museum after an attack in Tunis, Tunisia on March 18, 2015. Gunmen opened fire at the Bardo Museum in Tunisia's capital, killing 21 people including 17 tourists, the Tunisian Prime Minister said. (Photo by Ahmet Izgi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
TUNIS, TUNISIA - MARCH 18 : Tunisian security forces take security measures around the Bardo Museum after an attack in Tunis, Tunisia on March 18, 2015. Gunmen opened fire at the Bardo Museum in Tunisia's capital, killing 21 people including 17 tourists, the Tunisian Prime Minister said. (Photo by Amine Landoulsi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
TUNIS, TUNISIA - MARCH 18 : Bullets holes are seen on a window of a bus around Bardo Museum after an attack in Tunis, Tunisia on March 18, 2015. Gunmen opened fire at the Bardo Museum in Tunisia's capital, killing 21 people including 17 tourists, the Tunisian Prime Minister said. (Photo by Ahmet Izgi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
TUNIS, TUNISIA - MARCH 18 : Bullets holes are seen on a window of a bus around Bardo Museum after an attack in Tunis, Tunisia on March 18, 2015. Gunmen opened fire at the Bardo Museum in Tunisia's capital, killing 21 people including 17 tourists, the Tunisian Prime Minister said. (Photo by Ahmet Izgi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A member of the Tunisian special security forces sits in a car after the killing of two gunmen who attacked Tunis' famed Bardo Museum on March 18, 2015. At least 17 foreigners were killed, they were among 19 people who died in the attack by two men armed with assault rifles on the museum, the interior ministry said. The attack appeared to be the worst on foreigners in Tunisia since an Al-Qaeda suicide bombing on a synagogue killed 14 Germans, two French and five Tunisians on the island of Djerba in 2002. AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAID (Photo credit should read FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images)
A member of the Tunisian special security forces sits in a car after the killing of two gunmen who attacked Tunis' famed Bardo Museum on March 18, 2015. At least 17 foreigners were killed, they were among 19 people who died in the attack by two men armed with assault rifles on the museum, the interior ministry said. The attack appeared to be the worst on foreigners in Tunisia since an Al-Qaeda suicide bombing on a synagogue killed 14 Germans, two French and five Tunisians on the island of Djerba in 2002. AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAID (Photo credit should read FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images)
Tunisian security forces open a gate to allow an ambulance carrying wounded victims from a gunmen attack at Tunis' famed Bardo Museum on March 18, 2015 to pass. At least 17 foreigners were killed, they were among 19 people who died in the attack by two men armed with assault rifles on the museum, the interior ministry said. The attack appeared to be the worst on foreigners in Tunisia since an Al-Qaeda suicide bombing on a synagogue killed 14 Germans, two French and five Tunisians on the island of Djerba in 2002. AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAID (Photo credit should read FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images)
TUNIS, TUNISIA - MARCH 18: Security measures are taken outside the National Bardo Museum, near the country's parliament in Tunis, when gunmen take an unknown number of tourists hostage on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. At least eight people, including six foreign tourists, were killed in the attack by unidentified gunmen on the museum in the Tunisian capital, the Interior Ministry said. (Photo by Ahmet Izgi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
TUNIS, TUNISIA - MARCH 18: Police forces arrest a suspicious man when gunmen take an unknown number of tourists hostage at the National Bardo Museum, near the country's parliament in Tunis, on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. (Photo by Yassine Gaidi /Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Tunisian security forces secure the area after gunmen attacked Tunis' famed Bardo Museum on March 18, 2015. At least seven foreigners and a Tunisian were killed in an attack by two men armed with assault rifles on the museum, the interior ministry said. AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAID (Photo credit should read FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images)
Tunisia's president has vowed not to give in to terrorism after the shootings in the country which left 21 people dead. Jonathan Samuels reports.
TUNIS, TUNISIA - MARCH 18: Security measures are taken outside the National Bardo Museum, near the country's parliament in Tunis, when gunmen take an unknown number of tourists hostage on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. (Photo by Amine Landoulsi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
TUNIS, TUNISIA - MARCH 18: Police forces arrest a suspicious man when gunmen take an unknown number of tourists hostage at the National Bardo Museum, near the country's parliament in Tunis, on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. (Photo by Yassine Gaidi /Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Tunisian security forces secure the area after gunmen attacked Tunis' famed Bardo Museum on March 18, 2015. At least seven foreigners and a Tunisian were killed in an attack by two men armed with assault rifles on the museum, the interior ministry said. AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAID (Photo credit should read FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images)
Police officers look for evidence, outside the Bardo museum in Tunis, Tunisia, Thursday, March 19, 2015, a day after gunmen opened fire killing over 20 people, mainly tourists. One of the two gunmen who killed 19 tourists and others at a prominent Tunisian museum was known to intelligence services, Tunisia's prime minister said Thursday. But no formal links to a particular terrorist group have been established in an attack that threatens the country's fledgling democracy and struggling tourism industry. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Bystanders watch as policemen guard the Bardo museum in Tunis, Tunisia, Thursday, March 19, 2015, a day after gunmen opened fire killing over 20 people, mainly tourists. One of the two gunmen who killed 19 tourists and others at a prominent Tunisian museum was known to intelligence services, Tunisia's prime minister said Thursday. But no formal links to a particular terrorist group have been established in an attack that threatens the country's fledgling democracy and struggling tourism industry. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
#Tunisie: #attaque armée en cours dans le quartier du parlement, 8 morts http://t.co/ugMF8EOYYx #AttaqueBardo http://t.co/WJmjznDbvJ
An armed Tunisian policeman in plainclothes stops a vehicle as security forces secure the area after gunmen attacked Tunis' famed Bardo Museum on March 18, 2015. At least seven foreigners and a Tunisian were killed in an attack by two men armed with assault rifles on the museum, the interior ministry said. AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAID (Photo credit should read FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images)
Tunisian security forces secure the area after gunmen attacked Tunis' famed Bardo Museum on March 18, 2015. At least seven foreigners and a Tunisian were killed in an attack by two men armed with assault rifles on the museum, the interior ministry said. AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAID (Photo credit should read FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images)
TUNIS, TUNISIA - MARCH 18: Security measures are taken outside the National Bardo Museum, near the country's parliament in Tunis, when gunmen take an unknown number of tourists hostage on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. (Photo by Amine Landoulsi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
TUNIS, TUNISIA - MARCH 18: An ambulance evacuating woundeds from the National Bardo Museum, near the country's parliament in Tunis, when gunmen take an unknown number of tourists hostage on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. At least eight people, including six foreign tourists, were killed in the attack by unidentified gunmen on the museum in the Tunisian capital, the Interior Ministry said Wednesday. (Photo by Ahmet Izgi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
TUNIS, TUNISIA - MARCH 18: Security measures are taken outside the National Bardo Museum, near the country's parliament in Tunis, when gunmen take an unknown number of tourists hostage on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. At least eight people, including six foreign tourists, were killed in the attack by unidentified gunmen on the museum in the Tunisian capital, the Interior Ministry said. (Photo by Ahmet Izgi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Cette photo est en train de circuler sur la toile #AttaqueBardo http://t.co/JFnJ3Bvwqb
#AttaqueBardo http://t.co/HDkcNzB0kG
"@adel_0: Encore des ambulances même militaires #TnARP#Bardo #AttaqueBardo #Tunisie http://t.co/QswNmnmEW8"
Clashes in Tunisia near Parlment Building and Bardo Museum, 3 terrorists are taking hostages http://t.co/TuWsh0WXwv http://t.co/ZonYOZ8z2e
A tourist watches mosaics at Bardo museum on May 17, 2012 in Tunis. Expanded and renovated result after years of work, the Bardo Museum in Tunis, famous for its exceptional collection of mosaics, opened its new wing and presented with new material, on the occasion of International Museum Day. AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAID (Photo credit should read FETHI BELAID/AFP/GettyImages)
Tourists watch mosaics at Bardo museum on May 17, 2012 in Tunis. Expanded and renovated result after years of work, the Bardo Museum in Tunis, famous for its exceptional collection of mosaics, opened its new wing and presented with new material, on the occasion of International Museum Day. AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAID (Photo credit should read FETHI BELAID/AFP/GettyImages)
Tourists watch mosaics at Bardo museum on May 17, 2012 in Tunis. Expanded and renovated result after years of work, the Bardo Museum in Tunis, famous for its exceptional collection of mosaics, opened its new wing and presented with new material, on the occasion of International Museum Day. AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAID (Photo credit should read FETHI BELAID/AFP/GettyImages)
Tunis Tunisia Interior Bardo Museum
#Tunisia's law enforcement officers blocked 2 militants in #BardoMuseum, http://t.co/gxSuJPfyJs #PriseOtagesBardo http://t.co/6b5zUTxDYX
Les forces de sécurité à l'intérieur du musée #Bardo via @TUNISCOPEcom http://t.co/CXk2AaP7J4
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