The Libyan accused of carrying out a small bombing of a Milan army barracks apparently opposed Italy's military missions overseas, the interior minister said Tuesday after police detained two more North Africans in the case.
The attacker spoke in Arabic at the moment of Monday's explosion, then spoke in Italian in the ambulance after being injured and referred to foreign military missions, Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said.
"So one can presume that the act could be designed as giving a signal against foreign military missions," Maroni told a news conference after convening top security officials to discuss the case, the ANSA and Apcom news agencies reported.
Monday's attack at the main gate of the Santa Barbara army barracks seriously injured the attacker, identified as 35-year-old Mohamed Game. It caused little damage to the barracks, but slightly wounded the guard who stopped the attacker.
Another Libyan and an Egyptian were detained overnight as suspected accomplices in the bombing, anti-terrorism prosecutor Armando Spataro told The Associated Press. Spataro later told a news conference that authorities had found 88 pounds (40 kilograms) of ammonium nitrate and other bomb-making substances.
Ammonium nitrate, an easily obtainable fertilizer ingredient often sold in 110-pound (50-kilogram) sacks, had been purchased about a week ago by the Libyan man who carried out the attack, prosecutors said.
Prosecutor Maurizio Romanelli, who is heading the investigation, told the AP it was not immediately clear if the three suspects were part of a wider terrorist network or if they had plans for further attacks.
"We still need to look more deeply," Romanelli said.
Maroni, who said the explosion was clearly intended to be a suicide attack, said it would be more troubling if the suspects acted on their own for ideological reasons.
"If this was a person or group of people who aren't directly connected to organized structures, but who take inspiration from religious fanaticism, we would be in the presence of a new, worrisome phenomenon that would be monitored and followed with great attention," he told reporters.
He said the sale of chemicals such as ammonium nitrate should be more closely monitored.
The investigating judge will decide whether to formally charge the latest two suspects. Game, arrested Monday following the explosion, is being held initially on a charge of building an explosive weapon, Spataro said.
Game has been in Italy since 2003, and has two children with an Italian woman with whom he has been living in Milan, Spataro said. "It seems he had financial troubles and was unemployed," he said.
A man identified by Sky TG24 as a friend of Game's said the suspect had grown increasingly angry in recent months about the presence of 2,800 Italian troops in Afghanistan. Some of those troops are based at the Santa Barbara army barracks.
The man, who was not identified further, also said Game had recently become a more observant Muslim.