High security in Rome ahead of Ariana Grande concert

Security was extra tight in Rome's PalaLottomatica arena on Thursday as US singer Ariana Grande arrived for the Italian leg of her world tour.

High security in Rome ahead of Ariana Grande concert
File photo of Ariana Grande performing. Photo: Kevin Winters/Getty Images North America/AFP

Grande – who has Italian ancestry – resumed her world tour in Paris last week after pausing it following a suicide attack outside her concert in Manchester.

The arena in the EUR complex of Rome was set to be protected with metal detectors and random inspections of those attending the sold-out show.

Guests were banned from bringing any kind of suitcase, backpack, or bag, with the exception of transparent bags, which women were allowed to carry, tour promoter Livenation said. Aerosol cans, alcoholic drinks, tripods, tablets, and even selfie sticks were also forbidden.

The same rules will apply to Grande's concert in Turin on Saturday, where security at public events has recently come under scrutiny. 

Shortly after the attack in Manchester, more than 1,500 people were injured at an outdoor showing of a football game in Turin.

The cause of the panic in Turin is still unclear, though witnesses at the time said they thought a bomb had gone off, and Interior Minister Marco Minniti said there was “an emotional link to the Manchester attack”. The city's mayor is reviewing safety regulations for public events in the wake of the panic, which left three people critically injured.

The youngest, a seven-year-old boy, left hospital this week, and one woman in her 20's has come out of a coma. However, hospital sources told the Ansa news agency that the third critical patient, a 38-year-old woman, was unlikely to survive.

On May 22nd, a suicide bomber attacked a concert by Grande in Manchester, killing 22 people including seven children when he blew himself up.

Grande cancelled shows she was due to give in London, Belgium, Germany, Poland and Switzerland, and went to her Florida home, before returning to Manchester to headline an all-star benefit show for victims of the attack and then continuing her tour in France, Portugal, and Spain.

The terror threat in Italy is currently at level 2, the highest possible in the absence of a direct attack.

Security in the country, particularly in cities and crowded areas, has been repeatedly reviewed and updated in recent months after a series of deadly attacks in Europe.

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A security checkpoint at Rome's Colosseum. Photo: AFP


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.