Italian police issued arrest warrants Thursday for four individuals suspected of extremism, according to a Milan prosecutor. Arrest warrants were also issued for two others suspected of operating in Syria. According to authorities, one of the suspects was arrested in connection with a planned attack on the Vatican. The attack was reportedly set to take place during Holy Year, a period lasting from December 2015 to November 2016. The period was announced by Pope Francis.
Authorities reported that one of the suspects, a native of Morocco living in Italy, was acting under orders from ISIS to carry out the attack. The man, identified as 23-year-old Abderrahim Moutahrrick, allegedly received a WhatsApp message from territory controlled by ISIS, reading, “Dear brother Abderrahim, I send you… the bomb poem… listen to the sheik [ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi] and strike.”
In addition to the Vatican, Moutahrrick planned to attack the Israeli embassy in Rome, according to Milan prosecutor Maurizio Romanelli. In a monitored conversation, Moutahrrick told another suspect, Abderrahmane Khachia, 23, that “I want to hit Israel in Rome.” The message was intercepted by Italian investigators, who broke up the terror cell.
“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,” Romanelli was quoted as saying by Italian news agency Ansa.
Italian authorities also issued arrest warrants for Mohamed Koraichi, who joined ISIS in Syria last year, and his wife. Authorities believe Koraichi directed Moutahrrick to carry out the attacks in Italy. In an audio message to Koraichi intercepted in March, Moutahrrick voiced plans to join ISIS in Syria with his own family.
“For these enemies I swear if I manage to bring my family to safety, I swear I will be the first to attack,” Moutahrrick said. “In this crusading Italy…the Vatican with the will of God.”
On Twitter, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi referred to the “Very important anti-extremist operation in north this morning,” offering “Compliments to the ministry, intelligence (services), investigators and police forces #alltogether.”
Source: JP Updates