• Italy's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Italy hunting five terror suspects after FBI tip-off
Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said Italy is hunting for five terror suspects following a tip-off from the FBI. Photo: John Thys/AFP

Italy hunting five terror suspects after FBI tip-off

AFP · 19 Nov 2015, 10:56

Published: 19 Nov 2015 10:56 GMT+01:00

The US embassy, meanwhile, posted a security warning on its website identifying some of Italy's best-loved landmarks as "potential targets."

"Since yesterday afternoon, our security forces have been working to find five people," Gentiloni told Rai 3 television, without elaborating.

Earlier, Italian media said the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had provided five names to the Italian authorities but the agency did not give specific details on any plots. Gentiloni stressed Italy was already primed for the possibility of an attack on St Peter's Cathedral in the Vatican, or other historic monuments such as the Duomo and La Scala theatre in Milan.

"The minister of the interior has explained many times that we are at a very high level of alert covering symbolic sites, places where people gather, from stadiums to cathedrals, and St Peter's in particular, which were, among others, the places highlighted by the FBI yesterday," Gentiloni said. "We always take such signals of alarm very seriously, especially when they come from the United States."

A security notice posted on the website of the US embassy in Rome said that St Peter's, La Scala and the Duomo in Milan had been identified as "potential targets" and said churches, synagogues, restaurants, theatres, and hotels in both cities were "possible targets."

Terrorist groups may possibly utilize similar methods used in the recent Paris attacks," it added. "The Italian authorities are aware of these threats. US citizens are advised to remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings."

Gentiloni stressed that this did not amount to formal advice to Americans not to travel to Italy - a step which would have serious repercussions for the country's large tourist industry - but a simple reminder of the need to be vigilant.

He also appealed to the media not to stoke public fears. "We must not become prisoners of this alarm because that would be a gift to Daesh," he said, using an acronym for Isis.

Isis threats

Story continues below…

Italy reacted to last week's attacks on Paris by deploying 700 extra troops in Rome, on top of 1,300 already involved in a highly-visible "safe streets" operation.

The additional soldiers have been deployed notably on the capital's underground rail network and at major shopping centres while media reports have suggested the number of sites identified as possible targets has been increased from 90 to 150.

Extra troops have been deployed to train stations and airports while security around Pope Francis has also been significantly enhanced with additional checks on people entering the Vatican and an increased number of bodyguards on duty when he did his weekly appearance in St Peter's square on Wednesday.

Italian media have, in recent months, regularly given high prominence to vague warnings from Isis propogandists that they will come to Rome and plant their flag on top of St Peter's. Officials have generally played down such threats, insisting they had no knowledge of a specific or credible plot to attack Rome or the Vatican.

Italy has a smaller problem with homegrown jihadists than other Western European countries. Intelligence experts estimate only around 50 Italian residents have gone to fight with Isis in Syria and suspected militants appear to be closely monitored. Interior Minister Angelino Alfano revealed on Tuesday that 55 suspected Islamists had been expelled from Italy since the start of the year, including four radical imams.

Security services have been on high alert since last Friday because of the possibility that individuals involved in the Paris killings could flee to Italy. Media reports said police had checked a number of 'Bed and Breakfasts' in Rome on Wednesday, looking for a suspect wanted by the French authorities.

For more news from Italy, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Today's headlines
Pope mourns Holocaust victims at Auschwitz
Francis entered the camp on foot, walking slowly in his white robe beneath the notorious gate at Auschwitz bearing the cynical words "Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work will set you free). Photo: AFP

Pope Francis paid a sombre visit to the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau on Friday, becoming the third consecutive pontiff to make the pilgrimage to the place where more than 1 million people, most of them Jews, were killed.

Gay civil unions finally become a reality in Italy
Italy became the last major country in Europe to recognize same-sex civil unions in May. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Italy's first civil union has been performed and will be registered in 10 days' time.

Mussolini's region votes to criminalize fascist souvenirs
Souvenirs plastered with the face of fascist dicator Benito Mussolini. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

The sale of trinkets and souvenirs bearing the image of Benito Mussolini has been outlawed in the region of Italy where the fascist dictator was born and raised.

New rescue plan sends shares Italy's oldest bank soaring
The ancient headquarters of Monte dei Paschi di Siena. Photo:Carlo Hermann/AFP

Shares in Monte Paschi di Siena (BMPS) soared on the Milan stock exchange on Friday, boosted by a possible new lifeline tabled by a veteran Italian banker and Swiss giant UBS.

Italy has expelled 35 Islamist terrorists in 2016: Alfano
Italy's Interiror Minister, Angelino Alfano. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Italy's Interior Minister Angelino Alfano on Thursday told Parliament that 35 Islamists had been expelled from the country so far in 2016.

Venice Film Festival
Hollywood dominates Venice film fest line-up
The Golden Lion is the top price at Venice's annual film festival. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Just three Italian films are in the running for the Golden Lion.

Italy energy giant boosts 2016 profit forecast
Energy giant Enel revised its 2016 profit estimates upwards on Thursday. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Italian energy giant Enel on Thursday revised upwards its profit forecast for 2016 after first-half net profit remained stable despite a sharp fall in revenue.

Stress tests to show extent of problems at Italy's oldest bank
The ancient headquarters of Monte dei Paschi di Siena. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace

Stress test results for Europe's top banks come out Friday and all eyes will be on Italy's embattled Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS) - the world's oldest bank.

Video
Tourists blame Google for drive in car-free Venice
Cars are not allowed to enter Venice. Photo: Screengrab/La Nuova Venezia

“Google Maps sent us this way.”

Italy launches hard-hitting campaign to put off migrants
Migrants arriving in Reggio Calabria, in southern Italy. Photo: Giovanni Isolino/AFP

People thinking about making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean are being encouraged to "make an informed decision" by a shocking Italian campaign.

Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Travel
Five crowd-free alternatives to Italy's tourist hotspots
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Italian hotspots struggling with 'too many tourists'
Culture
Meet the Italian chef behind the world's best restaurant
Travel
Escape the heat at one of these beautiful Italian lakes
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Politics
Why the UK is now officially crazier than Italy
Culture
How you can stay cool like an ancient Roman
Lifestyle
Food for thought: fight on to save Med diet from extinction
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
From asylum seeker in Italy to organic yoghurt entrepreneur
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Fifteen maps that tell the story of Italy
National
Why Italy might be the next big threat to the EU's future
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Politics
Post Brexit, less than a third of Italians want to leave EU
Politics
The bright side of Brexit: the 'good news' for Brits in Italy
Culture
Eight wonderful things to do in Italy in July
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Travel
Six of the best places to visit within easy reach of Rome
British business owners in Italy feel Brexit jitters
National
How to get Italian citizenship (or at least stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Politics
Where does Britain's exit from the EU leave Italy?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Politics
Has the time come for Italy’s Five Star Movement to shine?
Society
Why Italy must change after young woman’s brutal murder
Politics
Is Italy's Five Star up to the challenge of running Rome?
Culture
Six of the most bizarre Italian foods everyone should try
2,578
jobs available