Rome Tightens Security at Colosseum as ISIL Threatens to Attack Italy

Photo by scaliger/istock/getty images plus

by Andrea Vogt, The Daily Telegraph, August 3, 2016

Italy will install a high security cordon around the Colosseum in Rome amid rising fears of a terrorist attack during the summer tourist season.

Nicolo D’Angelo, the Rome police chief, has ordered a series of measures, including new entrance controls at the Colosseum, guarded by his officers. Security perimeters around the Vatican museums and St Peter’s Square are also being extended.

The tighter security comes after the emergence of a new 35-minute video from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), repeating a specific threat to “conquer Rome”.

About 800 more police officers have been deployed in the city, allowing more protection for churches and other religious sites along with shopping centres.

But another video, available on YouTube, showed a German daredevil, Flavius Vasily, climbing up the Colosseum, apparently unchallenged. The emergence of the video triggered criticism over a security lapse that had apparently allowed the 23-year-old prankster and one companion to enter the Colosseum undetected.

Two arrests of suspected terrorists this week only amplified those concerns. Mahmoud Jrad, a 23-year-old Syrian, was detained on suspicion of planning to travel to Syria to join Jabhat al-Nusra, a jihadist group previously affiliated to al-Qaeda.

There was no evidence he planned attacks in Italy, police said, but the investigation has widened to include several imams in Genoa, where he was arrested.

The second man arrested was a 26-year-old Pakistani, Aftab Farooq, who was deported from Italy after allegedly pledging allegiance to Isil. Andrea Orlando, the justice minister, told a parliamentary committee Wednesday that more than 150 inmates in Italian prisons were considered high-risk for radicalisation.

Mr Orlando added that a “sweeping probe” was underway into Isil’s role in managing migrant flows to Italy, and distributing migrants across the country after their arrival.


This article was written by ANDREA VOGT from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.