Rome Italian authorities have issued arrest warrants for three more purported CIA operatives accused of helping abduct an Egyptian Muslim cleric from Italy in 2003, a prosecutor said Friday.
Milan Prosecutor Armando Spataro told The Associated Press the new warrants were approved by Milan Judge Chiara Nobile on his request earlier this week and bring the total number of purported CIA operatives sought by Italian police in the case to 22.
Earlier this year, authorities ordered the arrest of 19 people alleged to have helped kidnap cleric Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar.
Nasr was allegedly abducted on a Milan street on Feb. 17, 2003 before being flown to Egypt, where he was reportedly tortured.
The Italian government said it had no prior knowledge of the operation, and the case caused a major strain in Italian-U.S. relations.
The operation was purportedly part of the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" program in which terrorism suspects are transferred to third countries without court approval, subjecting them to possible ill treatment.
U.S. officials have declined to comment on the case, and the U.S. embassy in Rome repeated that position Friday.