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TERRORISM

Detained imam ‘planned terror attack at Rome’s main station’

UPDATED: A 22-year-old man arrested in the central Molise region on Wednesday was allegedly planning a terror attack at Rome’s main train station, Termini.

Detained imam 'planned terror attack at Rome’s main station'
The imam was allegedly planning an attack in Rome, with a train station being a possible target. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

The imam and asylum seeker, from Somalia, was detained at a refugee centre near the city of Campobasso after a two-month investigation during which he was recorded saying “let’s start from Italy, let’s go to Rome and start with the station”.

He was also heard saying that “Charlie Hebdo was just the beginning, the war continues”, Corriere reported.

Investigators believe he was planning to leave the refugee centre in Campomarino on Wednesday and head to Rome.

The man is said to have supported the Isis extremist group and tried to encourage migrants staying at the centre in Campomarino to join the jihadist cause.

Police said the imam, who also praised the November 13th Paris attacks, held services in the centre, but that some worshippers walked out after being alarmed by his preaching.

Police used phone tapping and hidden cameras during their two-month investigation. The camera showed the man watching videos of terrorist attacks, police said.

ROME

Body of missing American tourist found in Rome’s River Tiber

The body of a missing 21-year-old tourist was found in the River Tiber on Thursday morning, according to media reports.

Body of missing American tourist found in Rome's River Tiber

Elijah Oliphant, from Dallas, Texas, was on holiday with his family in Rome when he went missing several days ago.

Oliphant’s parents reported his disappearance after he left his hotel room shortly after midnight on May 24th and did not return.

Hotel security footage showed him leaving the premises wearing a white undershirt and pyjama bottoms, which he was wearing when he was found.

Oliphant’s corpse was reportedly spotted by passersby near the Ponte Sisto bridge in Rome’s Trastevere district around 10am on Thursday morning. His body was positively identified by his parents.

Members of the fire brigade and river police who recovered the body say there were no obvious signs of violence, but an autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death. Trastevere police are reportedly investigating the matter.

The Oliphant family had arrived in Rome for a holiday on May 23rd. When Elijah went missing the following day, his parents launched an urgent appeal to help find their son.

His disappearance was featured on the missing persons television show, Chi l’ha visto (‘Who’s seen them?’) on May 25th.

Several foreigners have been found drowned in the Tiber in recent years, though there are no indication that any of the incidents are linked.

In 2016, the body of 19-year-old American student Beau Solomon was recovered from the river.

Rough sleeper Massimo Galioto was charged involuntary manslaughter in the case, but was ultimately acquitted in 2020.

Prosecutors said that Galioto pushed Solomon in the course of a violent argument. Galioto’s defense team acknowledged that the two had argued but said the student had accidentally slipped.

In May 2019, 37-year-old Imen Chatbouri, a former athletics champion from Tunisia, was found dead in the Tiber after a night out. CCTV footage later showed she had been pushed from the Ponte Sisto bridge.

A then-26-year-old man whose advances she had rejected earlier that evening was convicted of her murder in November 2021.

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