Saturday, September 20, 2014
ISIS is planning to kill the Pope in one of his overseas trips, Iraq Ambassador to Vatican Habeeb Al Sadr warns. He said that the terrorist group had spoken of its plan to assassinate the pope as he was vocally supporting U.S.' intervention in Syria and Iraq. He underlined that the ISIS has foreign members - Canadian, American, French, Britain and even Italians. The group can instruct these members to kill the pope when the opportunity arises.
Pope Francis talks to a reporter at the end of the general audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican August 27, 2014.
"What has been declared by the self-declared Islamic State is clear - they want to kill the Pope. The threats against the Pope are credible," Al Sadr said during an interview with Italian newspaper La Nazione.
Al Sadr's warning come before the Pope's visit to Albania on Sunday to celebrate the resurrection of Christianity from the destruction of Communist dictator Enver Hoxha. In 1967, Hoxha had declared Albania as the world's first atheist state. Pope's Sunday visit is a way of showing that Catholics, Orthodox and Muslims could live in peaceful co-existence.
According to Al Sadr, the ISIS is priding itself of having their caliphate to Rome and would one day have their black flag erected at St Peter's Basilica. He said that ISIS's bragging should not be disregarded. The group had already destroyed places of worships in Iraq.
"This band of criminals does not just issue threats...They have declared that whoever is not with them, is against them. Either convert or be killed. And they are doing it - it is a genocide," Al Sadr told the newspaper. If ISIS' attempt at the Pope failed in Albania, then he could be targeted in Turkey in November, he added.
The Vatican security, on the other hand, said they knew no information of an assassination attempt and hence will not be changing the Pope's itinerary in Albania. Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said that there are no apparent reasons to fear for the life of the Pope, nor credible information about the ISIS' plan of assassination. The security will conduct its normal precautionary behaviour. The Pope had even requested a set up where the ordinary people can meet him conveniently.
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