Security


Italy: Deported Moroccans 'plotted to kill Pope'




Rome, 13 May (AKI) - 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 authorising 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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