updated 8/11/2006 2:55:32 PM ET 2006-08-11T18:55:32

Police have arrested 40 people in cities throughout Italy in raids on Muslim gathering places in a security crackdown launched after Britain thwarted an alleged terror plot.

Anti-terrorism police agents also searched homes of Pakistani immigrants as part of a Belgian probe into suspected financing of terrorism, the Interior Ministry said Friday.

The arrests were made Rome, Milan, Venice, Florence, Naples and other cities on Thursday and Friday.

Twenty-eight people were arrested for violating rules on residence permits and 12 were arrested for property crimes, the statement said. The raids resulted in 114 expulsion orders and found numerous irregularities at call centers, the Internet points and the money transfer offices.

The raids were made on "Islamic gathering places, including call centers, Internet points and money transfer" offices, the ministry said.

On Friday morning, agents from Italy's DIGOS anti-terrorism police searched 15 homes in several Italian cities where foreign nationals, mostly Pakistani nationals lived, as part of a Belgian police probe into suspected financing of terrorism, the ministry said.

That operation resulted in the seizure of documents that are being examined and three expulsion orders because the foreigners had irregular residence papers.

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