BY Ian Dunn | September 1 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Italy takes Islamic State threat on Pope seriously

In spite of Vatican’s lack of immediate concern, the Italian government has announced terror alert amid fears for country and Holy See. UK also heightens terror alert

New reports have surfaced of a possible Islamic State (ISIS) attack on Pope Francis following the Vatican statement last week saying there were no current concerns about the Holy Father’s safety.

An Italians newspaper reported last week that that the Holy Father was a target of ISIS, citing an unnamed Italian intelligence source. The Vatican, however, immediately denounced the concerns, calling them unfounded despite growing fear in Italy that it is not just the Pope who is under threat.

“There is nothing serious to this,” Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombard said. “There is no particular concern in the Vatican.”

The Italian government, however, has made contradictory statements after Italy issued a nationwide terror alert.

Filippo Bubbico, Italy’s deputy interior minister, said Rome and the Vatican could be a target and that ‘ISIS poses an international and European security threat and we in Italy feel particularly exposed.’

“ISIS could launch terrorist attacks on what they referred to as ‘sensitive targets’ in Rome and elsewhere, specifically pinpointing embassies to both Italy and the Holy See, Catholic churches, bus and train stations, sea ports, airports and travel agencies,” he said. “Other security measures include restricting air space above Vatican City and Italy’s foreign ministry, in addition to stepped-up police presence in public transportation hubs and busy tourist sites like the Coliseum, the Spanish Steps and St Peter’s Square.”

The UK Government has also said it believes it could be the target of a terrorist plot, with Prime Minister David Cameron planning to announce plans to widen anti-terrorism laws later today in response.




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