Italian police rounding up suspected al-Qaeda terrorists

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SASSARI, ITALY – Italian police are in the middle of an al-Qaeda terrorist roundup. It’s part of an ongoing operation around the country against 18 Pakistanis and Afghan nationals believed to be in league with al-Qaeda.

They say some of these hombres are part of a terror ring that planned a suicide bombing of the Vatican five years ago, when Benedict the XVI was still pope. They didn’t carry it out, though.

Investigators also say some of them helped carry out a bombing in Pakistan that killed more than 100 Pakistanis.

And there’s a report that two of them were Osama bin Laden’s bodyguards.

Yeah, that didn’t turn out so well, either, did it?

Things also didn’t turn out so well for Mohamad Saeed, a San Diego man federal authorities say lied about his involvement with international terrorism.

Saeed is a naturalized citizen who, investigators say, spends a lot of time in Syria and turkey. And on Facebook, apparently, where he posted pictures of himself posing with weapons and suspected terrorists.

The feds say he lied about his involvement with terrorists when he tried to come back into the country, and that’s why they charged him.

"Originally he said he was standing in a field guarding something,” said John Parmley, an assistant US attorney. “Then, at some point, it became that he was conducting a diversionary tactic. Then it became that he was fighting alongside Al Nusrah and other forces fighting against the Syrian regime."

He faces up to eight years in prison if convicted, which is plenty of time to come up another explanation for the beard and the weapon.