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Vatican, Christian strongholds still in Islamic State crosshairs

11 maggio 2017 | 14.50
LETTURA: 2 minuti

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The Islamic State jihadist group said it is still waging war against the Vatican "and other strongholds of Christianity", US terrorism-tracking website SITE Intelligence reported on Thursday.

'The war on the Vatican and other strongholds of Christianity is continuing," IS wrote in caption beneath photos of Pope Francis and his predecessor Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI in its online magazine 'Rumiyah' (Rome), SITE said.

An in-depth article on terrorism tactics and the use of trucks in attacks also features in Rumiyah's new issue, which contains a photo of Francis during his visit to the Egyptian capital Cairo in late April, according to SITE.

The issue devotes an article to the role of women in the Islamic 'Caliphate', calling them "shepherds in their husbands' homes, who are responsible for taking care of his flock," SITE said.

There is also an article featuring IS's version of the "epic" battle by Iraqi forces to recapture the beleaguered northern Iraqi city of Mosul, where the group claims that its fighters have slain 9,100 'polytheist enemies of Islam'.

IS has destroyed 1,675 military vehicles, including 47 US and 39 Russian Hummers, and has downed seven helicopters and 52 reconnaissance drones during the almost six-month-long battle for Mosul, Rumiyah claims.

Italian authorities in April last year said they had foiled an IS plot to attack the Vatican during the Holy Year that ran from December 2015 to November 2016 as well as the Israeli embassy in Rome.

ISIS has regularly used the symbolism of Rome and the Roman Empire to underline its aims to conquer Europe and attack the continent’s “crusaders” as propaganda in its bid to recruit foreign fighters.

The group has previously made purported threats against the Vatican and as recently as in April this year, an audio tape by its spokesman Abu Hassan urged IS supporters to stage new attacks worldwide.

An Islamic Caliphate would spread from Baghdad to Damascus, Jerusalem, Amman, Istanbul and Rome after Tehran, Abu Hassan purportedly claimed in the tape.

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