Italy arrests Somali cleric over alleged plans for Rome attack

March 16, 2016
Rome's ancient Colosseum is seen from a helicopter August 12, 2004. Falling chunks of mortar from Rome's Colosseum has rekindled the debate about the state of the Italian capital's archaeological treasures -- some of which are literally falling apart. Three pieces of mortar -- measuring half a square metre -- collapsed at the weekend in the ancient amphitheatre, one of the most popular sites in Rome, plunging through a protective netting. Picture taken August 12, 2004. To match Reuters Life! ITALY-COLOSSEUM/   REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi  (ITALY - Tags: SOCIETY CITYSCAPE) - RTR2DS4E

(Rome’s ancient Colosseum is seen from a helicopter August 12, 2004. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi) 

Police in southern Italy have arrested a 22-year-old Somali imam and asylum seeker on suspicion that he was planning an attack in Rome.

The man was detained at a migrant reception center in Campomarino, in the region of Molise, a police statement said.

“We have clear technical evidence about the possibility that he was organizing an attack in Rome,” chief prosecutor Armando D’Alterio told reporters, releasing transcripts of wiretaps where the unnamed man discussed possible violence.

“Let’s start from Italy, let’s go to Rome and start with the station,” he was quoted as telling a friend. The simplest route was to “equip oneself and blow oneself up”, he said.

Police said he had used his role as an imam to promote the militant groups Islamic State and Somali Islamist group al Shabaab and encourage Muslims to take up jihad, or holy war.

Italian media said police had arrested the man at the so-called “Happy Family” center because they believed he planned to travel to Rome later on Wednesday.

The police statement said the man had tried to recruit other migrants to travel to Syria for training and believed he wanted to do likewise.

Source: Italy arrests Somali cleric over alleged plans for Rome attack | Reuters

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