Due to a 10-year investigation which had began following a probe into illegal immigration, italian counter-terror police arrested 18 people Friday, suspected of links with Al Qaida. A terror cell that was organizing a bomb plot against the Vatican, investigators said.
The arrested are afghan and pakistani nationals, including Osama Bin Laden’s bodyguards and a spiritual leader of a minor muslim community in Sardinia.
By all of the arrested there are also some suspected of involvment in the October 2009 bombing of the Meena Bazaar in Peshawar, Pakistan, that caused the death of 100 people and more than 200 injured.
Those arrested are also suspected to be involved in a fall down design of the Pakistani government, police said.
Italian prosecutor Mauro Mura stated in a press conference in Cagliari (Sardinia) that the terror suspected, were planning an attac at the Vatican in 2010, and a suicide bomber had arranged to land in Rome. Matter of fact, the plot went no further and the suicide bomber left Italy without explication, prosecutor Mura said.
The authorities told that this operation has included the investigation on 7 italian provinces “targeting an alleged organisation dedicated to transnational criminal activities inspired by al-Qaida and other radical organisations pursuing armed struggle against the west and insurrection against the current government of Pakistan”.
Recordings indicate that the involved used to talk “ironically” about the pope, Benedict XVI and were trying to rise jihad in the whole Italy. An unidentified imam who used to perform in Brescia and Bergamo, northern Italy, is believed to be another key leader of the terror cell.
“There was evidence that the 2009 Peshawar attack was substantially planned and financed from Olbia, Sardinia, and that Italy-based militants had taken part in it”, Mario Carta, an officer in the anti-terrorism unit behind the investigation, said.
Another weighty aspect of the terror cell involvement is the international funds deliver in Pakistan from Italy, avoiding the italian currency controls, as once happened when € 55258,00 were sent on a flight from Rome to Islamabad.
“From what it appears, this concerns a hypothesis that dates from 2010 which didn’t occur,” Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said in a statement. “It has therefore no relevance today and no reason for particular concern.”
Back in the day, Pope Benedict XVI was facing resentment due to a 2006 speech when he only paraphrased a Byzantine emperor who characterised some of the teachings of the prophet Muhammad as “evil and inhuman”.
The Charlie Hebdoe’s offices terror attac and the ones at a Copenhagen’s speech debate and at a cafe in Sydney had raised a heavy climate all across Europe and counter terror police operations are becoming much more persevering in these days.