Italian Police Crush ISIS Plot To Blow Up Historic Rialto Bridge In Venice
Italian police have arrested suspects from an Islamic State terror cell in Venice apparently planning to blow up the famous Rialto Bridge, which would have killed hundreds of tourists.
The police arrested Fisnik Bekaj, Dake Haziraj and Arian Babaj in a series of raids Thursday, The Telegraph reports. All three of the men are Kosovars.
Police wiretapped conversations last week, capturing the three men applauding the devastating terror attack in London, in which Khalid Masood, a Muslim convert, killed three people by driving a car through crowds on Westminster Bridge. Masood then stabbed a police officer to death.
Not only did the ISIS cell applaud the terror attack, but the wiretap captured one of the men saying: “You’ll go straight to paradise because of all the infidels in Venice. Put a bomb on the Rialto.”
Another man added in a separate conversation: “I can’t wait to take an oath to Allah. If they let me take the oath, I’m ready to die.”
Prosecutor Adelchi D’Ippolito referred to the suspects arrested as “truly dangerous.” Authorities had been conducting surveillance on the group for more than a year.
“There was great adherence to the ideology of Isis and support for recent attacks, above all the one in London, to which they gave great appreciation,” D’Ippolito said.
“There was a lot of talk about unconditional support to ISIS (the Islamic State group). It wasn’t just theory and dogma,” D’Ippolito added.
While the suspects didn’t yet have the components necessary for a bomb, authorities said at least one had had been teaching himself how to build one.
The Rialto Bridge, identified as the ideal target by these fanatical ISIS supporters, was built in the late 1100s and is the oldest of a total of four bridges stretching over the Grand Canal in Venice.
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