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Four arrested for threats against pope

BRESCIA (Agencies): Following a tip from the United States of America (US) Federal Bureau of Investigation, four people were arrested by police in Brescia, northern Italy, and in the Balkan state of Kosovo on suspicion of being terrorist risks and making threats on social media against Pope Francis. 

“They were threatening the pope, celebrating the recent attacks in Paris and threatening the former US ambassador to Kosovo,” Carmine Esposito, the chief of the state police in Brescia said on December 1.

The four, who have Kosovar citizenship, are accused of posting messages against the person of the Holy Father and saying, “Remember, there will not be another pope after this one. He will be the last.”

Working with their counterparts in Kosovo, Italian police carried out raids in the cities of Brescia, Vicenza and Perugia, the English-language Italian newspaper, The Local, reported.

The alleged group leader was arrested in Kosovo and had had combat experience outside the country.

The police in Brescia said in a statement that two had been expelled from Italy while a fourth was placed on a terrorism watch list and his travel documents were confiscated. 

They said that the four were active on a Facebook group that indicated they had, or aspired to have connections to Lavdrim Muhaxheri, a terrorist believed to be the leader of a group from the Balkan states fighting for the Islamic State.

The four had also posted photographs of themselves “with weapons and in poses characteristic of combatants of the so-called Islamic State.”


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