Italian prosecutors: Suspects planned attacks on Israeli embassy, Vatican

Ron Kampeas

ROME (JTA) – Suspects arrested in northern Italy on terrorism charges wanted to strike the Vatican and the Israeli Embassy in Rome, prosecutors said.

Police on Thursday arrested four people, all born in Morocco but long resident in Italy.

They included a Moroccan-born Italian citizen identified as a kick-boxer named Abderrahim Moutahrrick, 24, and his wife, Salma Bencharki. Police said the couple had planned to travel soon to Islamic State-held territory in Syria with their two young children.

Warrants also were issued for two other suspects, a Moroccan-born man identified as Mohamed Koraichi and his Italian wife, who are believed to have left Italy last year with their children for Islamic State territory, where Koraichi became an Islamic State fighter.

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Wiretap transcripts released by prosecutors and published in the Italian media included orders communicated by Koraichi from within Islamic State territory for suicide attacks in Italy.

“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,” Milan prosecutor Maurizio Romanelli told reporters.

Moutahrrick is quoted in transcripts of conversations in February and March as saying he wanted to attack the Vatican and also “to hit” the Israeli Embassy in Rome, and that he had contacted an Albanian to procure a gun.

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