A terror cell was caught by Italian police in a huge sweep across the country. It was suspected to have planned a suicide attack on the Vatican.
Italian police busted an al-Qaeda-linked terror ring that planned, but never carried out, an attack on the Vatican five years ago and is believed to have been involved in a bombing in Pakistan that killed more than 100 people, authorities said Friday.
Raids were carried out simultaneously in seven different Italian provinces with arrest warrants for 18 suspected Islamic extremists following a lengthy investigation in Cagliari, capital of the Italian island Sardinia.
Authorities uncovered plans for a suicide bomber plot against the Vatican in 2010, when Pope Benedict XVI was pontiff. Evidence includes a “martyr’s vow” from a would-be suicide bomber threatening to strike against the Vatican, the spiritual focal point for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
Mario Carta, an official from the counter-terror police force that carried out the raids, called it “one of the most important operations ever carried out in Italy.” Police said the operation targeted an “extremely well-structured terror network” based in Sardinia since at least 2005 that was made up of Pakistani and Afghan nationals.
Nine people have been arrested, and two are still at large in Italy. Seven of the suspects are believed to be in Pakistan, Carta said.
Italy has mostly escaped terror attacks that have impacted other European countries, including Britain, France and Spain. Plots have also been foiled by authorities recently in France, the United States and Australia. Concerns were raised earlier this year when the Islamic State issued a video threat to Italy that warned, “We are south of Rome.”
Wiretaps show the Italian terror cell had a strong connection to al-Qaeda, with references to the whereabouts to Osama bin Laden when he was alive, Carta said. “They were connected with al-Qaeda at the highest level,” he said.
I’m so sick of these Christian terrorists! Oh wait. Well, get off your high horse, don’t forget the Crusades, dammit!!