• 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
Italy earthquake
Italy earthquake death toll revised down to 241
Volunteers join rescue services in Amatrice. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

UPDATED: The death toll from a powerful earthquake in central Italy was revised downwards to 241 on Thursday but officials cautioned it could rise again as rescuers continued a grim search for corpses, as powerful aftershocks rocked the devastated area.

Italy quake: Probe opens into building collapses
Collapsed buildings in central Amatrice. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Italian prosecutors have opened an investigation into building collapses in the Lazio towns of Accumoli and Amatrice following Wednesday’s earthquake.

Italy earthquake: Here's how you can help
Rescuers continue to hand for survivors. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

The earthquake on Wednesday, which claimed the lives of at least 247 people, has had a devastating impact on four Italian towns.

Italy must do more to reduce earthquake risk: experts
Rescue workers survey the ruins of Amatrice. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

"An event like yesterday’s in Japan or California would never have caused the same amount of carnage."

Italy earthquake
Restaurants donate for servings of famous pasta dish
The famous Amatriciana dish derives from Amatrice, where over 200 died in the earthquake. Photo: ZanPei/Flickr

Italian restaurants around the world have been asked to make €2 donations for every plate of Amatriciana pasta served towards Amatrice, one of the towns devastated by Wednesday’s earthquake.

Italy earthquake
Quake hit in one of Italy's most seismically-prone areas
Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

The deadly earthquake that struck central Italy before dawn on Wednesday occurred in a notorious seismic hotspot, and dangerous aftershocks are possible, scientists said.

Live: Italy earthquake death toll rises to 247
Residents of Amatrice survey the damage to their homes. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

At least 247 people have died after a powerful earthquake struck a remote area of central Italy on Wednesday, said Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, warning that the figure could still rise.

At least 120 dead in central Italy earthquake
Rescuers carry a man in Amatrice. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

A powerful earthquake that rocked central Italy on Wednesday left 120 people dead and the total is likely to rise, the country's civil protection unit said in the first official death toll.

Italy earthquake: What we know so far
Rescuers carry a man through the rubble of damaged homes. Photo: AFP

At least 247 are reported dead as rescuers work to save those trapped in the rubble.

A long history of deadly earthquakes in Italy
Photo taken on May 17th 1976 of a nun showing a church destroyed by the Friuli-Venezia earthquake. Photo: AFP

At least 73 people were killed after a powerful earthquake struck central Italy early on Wednesday.

Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
National
Why discontented Italians could derail their economy
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Society
Keep passports safe: Typical pickpocket scams revealed
Culture
Why coffee in Italy is a culture you must taste to understand
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Society
The richest families in Florence in 1427 are still rich today
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Culture
So why do pasta-loving Italians live such long lives?
National
Italy's Renzi prepares for stormy autumn
Society
This 104-year-old just saw the sea for the first time
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
National
Should Rome give up on its 2024 Olympic dream?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Society
The Italian doctor giving hope to thousands of migrants
Culture
Ten 'Italian' dishes that don't actually exist in Italy
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Sport
Five Italian athletes going for gold at the Rio Olympics
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Travel
Trastevere: From a fiery past to Rome’s souvenir stand
Politics
Think Trump would be a disaster? Just ask the Italians
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
How Brexit has helped to expose Italy’s banking malaise
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Politics
After Brexit, keep a close eye on Italy's Five Star Movement
Lifestyle
12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Italy
National
Why Milan could be Europe's post-Brexit financial hub
Travel
Five crowd-free alternatives to Italy's tourist hotspots
National
Italian hotspots struggling with 'too many tourists'
Culture
Meet the Italian chef behind the world's best restaurant
2,510
jobs available