Italian police have arrested a 20-year old Somali man suspected of being a member of the Islamic State with plans to plant bombs across churches in Italy, specifically targeting Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican on Christmas.
This past Monday, Italian police told reporters in the city of Bari that a man identified as Omar Mohsin Ibrahim was detained last week having been charged with instigating and supporting terrorism. The Italian special police force, DIGOS, said the man is suspected to be linked to the Islamic State (ISIS) operating out of Somalia. He was apprehended after a month-long surveillance operation when he tried to leave the city.
Excerpts of conversations obtained through wiretaps revealed plans to plant bombs in churches all across Italy, specifically targeting Saint Peter’s Basilica on Christmas.
“December 25 is coming. The 25th is Christmas. The churches are full. Let’s put bombs in all the churches of Italy. Where is the largest church? It is in Rome.“
He was suspected of being an ISIS militant prior to moving to Italy. Other conversations obtained had him praising the shooting at the Strasbourg Christmas market in France which claimed the lives of five people.
Following the incident, Italian police have upped security across churches in Italy ahead of Christmas where many are expected to gather, especially Saint Peter’s Basilica.