Arrests in suspected ISIS plot to attack Vatican

A suspect who allegedly received orders from ISIS to attack the Vatican and Israel’s embassy in Rome is among several extremists arrested in Italy.

The arrests were made in Lombardy and Piedmont late last month.

They came as the result of a joint operation co-ordinated by Milan’s district attorney and the Italian anti-terror agency.

Authorities monitored a series of conversations between the suspects via WhatsApp.

One of the messages sent to a suspect stated: “Dear brother Abderrahim, I send you . . . the bomb poem . . . listen to the sheik and strike,” ANSA reported.

This message was received by Abderrahim Moutaharrik, one of those arrested.

Milan prosecutor Maurizio Romanelli told reporters that authorities believe the word “sheik” is a reference to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

He also said the messages, intercepted in February and March, mentioned a strike against the Israeli embassy as well as against pilgrims in Rome for the Year of Mercy.

Mr Romanelli told ANSA: “This is a new profile, because it was not a generic indication, but an indication given to a specific person who was invited to act within the territory of the Italian state.”

“I swear I will be the first to attack them in this Italy of crusaders, I swear I’ll attack it, in the Vatican God willing,” a message from one of the arrested suspects stated, according to ANSA.

Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi, SJ, expressed his confidence in the current security measures in place for the Holy Year.

Several of those arrested had Moroccan links.

In all, four suspects were arrested, with warrants issued for two more.


Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , , ,