Anti-terrorism police in Italy raided a dozen homes and arrested three Kosovan men early Thursday after identifying a “jihadi cell” in central Venice. Officers targeted 10 homes in the historic city, plus one in nearby Mestre and another in Treviso. Agence France-Presse (AFP) filed a report on the terror plot on Thursday. The quartet, who are from Kosovo, were picked up as part of police sweep at 12 sites across the city.
Prosecutor Adelchi d’Ippolito revealed an excerpt from a wiretapped conversation, where the suspects discussed the bombing of the centuries-old Rialto Bridge over Venice’s Grand Canal: “With all the unbelievers there are in Venice, you put a bomb under the Rialto and you go straight to heaven.”
D’Ippolito said it was just one of the many alarming comments overheard among the group. He also said that raids at locations frequented by the four men, who all had legal residency documents for Italy, showed evidence that they had been studying bomb-making, though it was not immediately clear that they had the supplies needed to construct an actual bomb. They had also apparently been engaged in weapons training, including knife practice and physical endurance training.
Kosovo has its own problems with terrorist threats. In November, police thwarted a number of planned terrorist attacks with the arrest of 19 men who allegedly planned to target the Israeli national soccer team when it played in Albania.