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By Deacon Keith Fournier

5/16/2010 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Reports from AKI News (adnkronosinternational) an Italian news service reported on May 13, 2010 (while Pope Benedict was in Fatima, Portugal) that a plot to assasinate him was foiled in Italy last month. Catholic Online is seeking to independently verify these reports.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/16/2010 (4 years ago)

Published in Europe


ROME, Italy (Catholic Online) - Reports from AKI News (adnkronosinternational) an Italian news service reported on May 13, 2010 (while Pope Benedict was in Fatima, Portugal) that a plot to assasinate him was foiled in Italy last month.

The Italian newsweekly Panorama made this claim in its Friday edition. It was the only source cited in the AKI story. The claim was picked up internationally and circulated throughout the blogosphere. It was also reported by Catholic News Agency in a May 14, 2010 story entitled "Assassination plot by radical Muslims against Pope prevented." 

It was then picked up by Reuters and distributed widely.

Catholic Online is seeking to independently verify these reports. If and when we do we will bring the details to our global readers.

Given the seriousness of this allegation, it is a matter of deep concern that the only action taken against the two alleged to have been engaged in the plot appears to have been a deportation order back to Morocco. The only other European Press coverage of the claim is found  in the AKI story from which the Catholic News Agency story seems to be derived. We include it below in its entirety. It can be found at http://www.adnkronos.com/AKI/English/Security/?id=3.1.386822783

***** " Two Moroccan terrorist suspects deported from Italy last month were allegedly plotting to kill Pope Benedict XVI, Italian weekly Panorama claims in its latest issue to be released on Friday. Mohammed Hlal and Errahmouni Ahmed were students at the University of Perugia until their repatriation to Morocco on 29 April. "Hlal wanted to kill the Vatican's head of state (the pope), saying he was ready to assassinate him and gain his place in paradise," Italy's interior minister Roberto Maroni wrote in the expulsion order authorizing Hlal and Ahmed's deportations, cited by Panorama. "Anti-terror police in Perugia intercepted Hlal discussing his plans to carry out attacks and readiness to obtain explosives for the attacks during a series of tapped telephone conversations, according to Panorama. "Moroccan authorities on 6 May released Hlal and Ahmed, who had been receiving legal assistance from a local human rights association. "The pair have denied any wrongdoing and said they intend to challenge their expulsions in the administrative tribunal in Italy's Lazio region surrounding Rome. "In a media statement issued at the time of their expulsion, the Italian interior ministry described the men as "dangerous" and a "threat to national security". "The interior ministry claimed they had links to an international network of Islamist miliists and were prepared to carry out "extremist acts". "Hlal and Ahmed's deportation followed a probe begun by anti-terrorism police in October 2009 into a group of radical Muslim foreign students in Italy, most of whom came from the Moroccan city of Fez. Several were studying at Perugia. "The interior ministry said Hlal and Ahmed belonged to this group." 

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