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Authorities investigating attempt to enter Aviano base with false ID

Security personnel check identifications as cars pull into the main gate at Aviano Air Base, Italy, on Aug. 31, 2017. A 25-year-old Moroccan national remains under house arrest after trying to get onto Aviano Air Base in early July by using an ID card bearing the name of an active-duty servicemember.

KENT HARRIS/STARS AND STRIPES

By KENT HARRIS | STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 31, 2017

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy — A Moroccan national remains under house arrest after trying to get into Aviano Air Base by using an ID card bearing the name of an active-duty servicemember.

The suspect, 25, whose identity was not disclosed, arrived at a gate in a vehicle with two other U.S. servicemembers in July, Italian wire service ANSA reported Wednesday. It was unclear whether the suspect was using a doctored ID or a servicemember’s actual ID card.

Capt. Tom Barger, 31st Fighter Wing spokesman, said the Air Force is assisting Italian authorities with their investigation. He referred questions to Italian authorities, who were not immediately available for comment

Pordenone Provincial Prosecutor Raffaele Tito told local newspaper Il Gazzettino that authorities don’t believe terrorism was a motive, after they repeatedly questioned the suspect and raided his home in nearby Conegliano.

A report by the newspaper Il Messaggero said the suspect claimed he had entered the base using the same ID on previous occasions.

Barger declined to address that claim. He said that Air Force security personnel and their Italian counterparts noticed problems with the ID when the suspect tried to enter. The Italian Carabinieri were called and arrested the suspect at the scene.

The servicemembers involved are not subjects of a criminal investigation, Barger said. Military rules still allow commanders to impose disciplinary action if deemed warranted.

Unlike some other countries in Europe, the U.S. does not maintain control over the bases it uses in Italy. It is granted restricted use by the Italian military, which often has its own personnel stationed at gates.

Incidents of unauthorized personnel trying to enter Aviano are not common.

Italian law enforcement personnel arrested a 20-year-old immigrant from Ghana in November 2014 who tried to talk his way through a gate used only by Italian military personnel. He wanted to talk to the base commander in hopes of being flown to the U.S., officials said. He was arrested when he refused to leave and scuffled with police outside the gate.

harris.kent@stripes.com
 

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