Mohammed Game, the Libyan alleged “lone wolf” suicide bomber who attempted to blow himself up at the military barracks in Milan on October the 12th, is now in a coma and cannot be questioned by the Italian authorities. In the meantime, his two partners were arrested. The investigators are starting to think that Game was just a tool in the hands of his older mentor, Abdel Azziz Mahmoud Kol.
Kol is a 52 year-old Egyptian plumber and, together with Mohammed Israfel Imbayea (33, an electrician), helped - some believe convinced - Game to undertake the failed suicide bombing mission at the Santa Barbara army barracks in Milan. Even though the bomb did not explode entirely, the Italian investigators cannot yet determine whether this is just an isolated case of sudden violence erupting from the severe social conditions of a desperate immigrant or a well thought-out plan, perhaps decided elsewhere.
According to Italian Interior Minister, Roberto Maroni, if this was a person, or group of people, not directly connected to organized structures, but inspired by religious fanatics, Italians would be in the presence of a new, worrisome phenomenon that should be monitored and followed with great attention.
Maroni also pointed out that the only reason this case is not more spooky, is because the homemade bomb was not perfect. Only 10% of the charge exploded, which caused Game the loss of his eyesight and right hand.
The fact that the explosive device was not perfect, however, leads to a clue: the maker of the bomb was not good at doing this and was therefore probably self-taught.
Various jihadist internet websites have praised Mohammed Game for this attack, saying that the Lord will heal his wounds, and that the Crusaders must leave Afghanistan soon.
In the foggy scenario of this case, only two things seem certain (almost):
First, the attack seemed to be linked to the presence of the Italian army in Afghanistan at least in some way -- apparently, Game was talking about the Italian military presence there as he was being transported to the hospital, plus, even though this could not determined for sure, Game may have shouted something about Afghanistan a second before the explosion. Further, the date of the 12th is symbolic: on November 12th 2003, the Italians suffered the attack of Nassyria that killed 17 soldiers.
Second, the obvious outcome of this case is that Italian Intelligence is not prepared for these kinds of attacks. In other words, the Lone Wolf is a serious threat to our investigators; they are used to dealing with organized jihadists. Instead, the Santa Barbaras bombing rewrites the traditional analysis, according to which a jihadist is either trained and indoctrinated in one of the religious sanctuaries across the Middle East, or else becomes a radical Muslim in the Western countries.* This attack adds another category to the list: the homegrown terrorist or the bomber next door.
According to many sources Mohammed Game could have been considered the perfect example of social integration for an immigrant, up until he went bankrupt and met his two friends, Kol and Israfel.
Mohammed Game arrived in Italy in 2003 and quickly adapted himself to his new surroundings. He found an Italian woman, Giovanna, with whom he had two sons, and he founded a construction company which eventually employed 45 workers. The enterprise failed when creditors started to delay their payments. The bankruptcy of his company left Game without a job, and his sons with no food. The family was living in a small squatter’s apartment in the outskirts of Milan. According one neighbor this was no home for terrorists: “It seemed to me like a normal family, he was a polite person, always greeting everyone. I never heard them arguing .But Game was diabetic and had heart problems. The sudden decline of his social and economic life might have caused him to turn toward religion to find an answer to his problems.”
Game intensified his prayers at the local mosque and, according to inquiries, even had an Osama Bin Laden screen-saver in front of which he would usually perform The Cow Sura from the Koran. At this point of his life, Abdel Azziz Mahmoud Kol and Mohammed Israfel Imbayea came along and possibly convinced the desperate Mohammed Game to give his life for a bigger cause: Jihad.
If Game was never involved with any terrorist organization, perhaps Kol or Israfel are? Investigators are looking into it.
The reactions to this suicide bombing have been many, and different from one another. Davide Boni, from the Lega Nord, said that the unauthorized mosques should be closed. Interior minister Maroni suggested a closer monitoring of the mosque’s activities. Abdel Amid Shaari, President of the Islamic Center frequented by Game and his friend, stated that Mosques are needed in order to avoid hatred and violence.
Khaled Fouad Allam, however, an Algerian-Italian sociologist at the University of Treviso, said that the Islamic terrorism is based upon the strategy of targeting poor and desperate people who have nothing to lose, and where it is hard to tell a terrorist from an ordinary person. A major terrorist organization can adapt itself to its environment: if a certain degree of privacy is needed, it can rely on people who have no criminal background, like Game, for fulfilling its goals.
Game and many other leftist media outlets shared the same view in the aftermath of the September 17th attack against the NATO Italian mission in Kabul: that Italy should withdraw its 2800 troops from the Herat province as soon as possible.
Marco Vicenzino, head of the Global Strategy Project wrote on the New York Times and LOccidentale that those calling for a pullout of Italian troops not only denigrated the heroism of six Italian soldiers who gave their lives and endangered the lives of other Italian troops and civilians involved in Afghanistan and other international peace-keeping operations around the world, but also unwisely jeopardized the entire international mission and its members, both military and civilian, as well as global stability and international security.
Sorry to say, this is exactly what happened shortly afterwards.
*A source on the condition of anonymity from the Aisi (Agency for the Information and the Internal Security).