18 Al-Qaeda Islamic Extremists Arrested in Italy for 2010 Vatican Terror Plot


As reported at Reuters, Italian security forces have arrested 18 radical Islamic extremists Friday who prosecutors said were behind a failed 2010 plot to attack the Vatican as well as a bombing at a Pakistan market that killed more than 100 a year earlier. Prosecutor Mauro Mura stated in Cagliari, Sardinia that wiretaps indicated the suspected terrorists, including two former bodyguards for Usama bin Laden, planned a bomb attack at the Vatican and went as far as to send a suicide bomber to Rome.

Italian police were arresting 18 people on Friday suspected of belonging to an armed group linked to al Qaeda who were plotting attacks on the Vatican as well as in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Some of the suspects, who are all Pakistanis and Afghans, were arrested in early morning raids across Italy. Police burst into the home of the group’s suspected spiritual leader, in the northern city of Bergamo, a video released by them showed.

Though the suspects were plotting attacks mainly in their native countries, phone taps suggest the Vatican was also a target, said Mauro Mura, chief prosecutor of the Sardinian city of Cagliari, where the group based its headquarters.

In the tapped conversations, the suspects discuss “a big jihad in Italy,” added Mario Carta, head of the police unit on the case. They reference the word “baba”, which could mean the pope, Carta said.

“We don’t have proof, we have strong suspicion,” that the Holy See was a possible target, he added.

Italy: Al-Qaeda cell planned suicide attack on Vatican:

Raids were carried out simultaneously in seven different Italian provinces with arrest warrants for 18 suspected Islamic extremists following a lengthy investigation in Cagliari, capital of the Italian island Sardinia.

Authorities uncovered plans for a suicide bomber plot against the Vatican in 2010, when Pope Benedict XVI was pontiff. Evidence includes a “martyr’s vow” from a would-be suicide bomber threatening to strike against the Vatican, the spiritual focal point for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.

Mario Carta, an official from the counter-terror police force that carried out the raids, called it “one of the most important operations ever carried out in Italy.” Police said the operation targeted an “extremely well-structured terror network” based in Sardinia since at least 2005 that was made up of Pakistani and Afghan nationals.

Nine people have been arrested, and two are still at large in Italy. Seven of the suspects are believed to be in Pakistan, Carta said.

Italy’s Highest Court Overturns Amanda Knox & Ex-Boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito Murder Conviction in the 2007 Death of British Student Meredith Kercher


On Friday, Italy’s highest court overturned the murder conviction of Amanda Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, in the  2007 death of British student Meredith Kercher. As reported at the Gazzetta del Sud, Amanda Knox was ”relieved and grateful for the decision of the Italian Supreme Court”.  Thus brings an end to the murder trials, acquittals, appeals, convictions and overturned convictions in the 2007 death of British student Meredith Kercher.

From her home in Seattle, Washington Knox, 27, said that she was “relieved and grateful for the decision of the Italian Supreme Court”. Speaking to reporters outside her mother’s home, Knox said she was thankful for the justice I’ve received and for the support I’ve had from everyone – from my family, from my friends, to strangers. “I am so grateful to have my life back”.

Time line of convictions and acquittals:

  • Dec. 4, 2009: the Italian court in Perugia found Amanda Knox guilty of murder, sexual assault and slander and sentenced her to 26 years in prison, including one year for slander. Sollecito was convicted of murder and sexual assault, and sentenced to 25 years.
  • Oct. 3, 2011:  The court threw out the convictions of Knox and Sollecito, declaring them innocent of murder and freeing them immediately after nearly four years in prison. Knox’s slander conviction was upheld and the sentence was increased from one year to three years.
  • March 26, 2013: Italy’s highest court vacated the acquittal, ordering a new appeals trial in a scathing decision that attacked the Perugia appellate court’s logic and ordered the examination of evidence that had been omitted previously.
  • Jan. 30, 2014: The court reaffirmed the 2009 murder and sexual assault convictions against Knox and Sollecito. Knox’s sentence was increased to 28 1/2 years, including time for the slander conviction. Sollecito’s was confirmed at 25 years.
  • March 27, 2015: Italy’s highest court, the Court of Cassation, again overturned the murder conviction, ending the case.

Amanda Knox and her family makes statement:

Statement from Amanda Knox:

“I am tremendously relieved and grateful for the decision of the Supreme Court of Italy. The knowledge of my innocence has given me strength in the darkest times of this ordeal. And throughout this ordeal, I have received invaluable support from family, friends, and strangers. To them, I say: Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your kindness has sustained me. I only wish that I could thank each and every one of you in person.”

Statement from Amanda Knox’s family:

“We want to express our profound gratitude to all of those who have supported Amanda and our family. Countless people – from world-renowned DNA experts, to former FBI agents, to everyday citizens committed to justice – have spoken about her innocence. We are thrilled with and grateful for today’s decision from the Supreme Court of Italy. And we are grateful beyond measure for all that so many of you have done for her.”

50 World Leaders at Paris Anti-Terror, Day of Unity Rally, But No President Barack Obama, VP Joe Biden or Sec. of State John Kerry

MILLIONS GATHER AGAINST TERRORISM: Noticeable absent from the worlds show of unity against radical Muslim terrorism was President Barack Hussein Obama …

Nearly four million turned out across France today for unity rallies and nearly one million in Paris, the largest number of people turned out in Paris  France since the liberation of Paris from Nazi, Germany during World War II.  The more than 50 world leaders showed at the Paris march for the “Day of Unity” that included those from Germany, Italy, Poland, Israel, the UK, Ireland, Mali, the UN Secretary General, the US Secretary of State and the Palestinian President. The world leaders and millions of people paid their honor and respects to the 17 individuals who were killed by radical-Muslim terrorist in the last few days at Charlie Hebdo and a Paris kosher deli. Yesterday, the France’s Prime Minister declared war with radical Islam.

Vive la liberté!!!

Crowds streaming in for Charlie Hebdo Unity March in Paris

Paris March: Millions Attend ‘Cry for Freedom’ Rally for Unity

What a show of disrespect that the Obama administration pretty much sent no one to this important show of world solidarity against radical Islam and terror. No Obama, no Biden, no Kerry. But they did send U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to Paris to attend a meeting on fighting terrorism, but did not participate in the “Unity” march. How special.

Here is a list of the world leaders attending today’s Paris rally:

French President Francois Hollande
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
British Prime Minister David Cameron
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker
European Parliament president Martin Schulz
European Union president Donald Tusk
Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg
Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz
Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny
Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka
Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico
Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban
Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic
Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel
Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat
Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven
Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko
Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga
Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibachvili
Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov
Austrian foreign minister Sebastian Kurz

US attorney general Eric Holder (* did not participate in the march)
Canadian public safety minister Steven Blaney

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman
Jordanian King Abdullah II and Queen Rania
Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas
United Arab Emirates foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan
Qatari Sheikh Mohamed Ben Hamad Ben Khalifa Al Thani
Bahrain foreign minister Sheikh Khaled ben Ahmed Al Khalifa and Prince Abdullah Ben Hamad al-Khalifa

Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita
Gabonese President Ali Bongo
Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou
Benin President Thomas Boni Yayi
Tunisian Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa
Algerian foreign minister Ramtane Lamamra

21 Year Old American Bates College Student John Durkin from Rye Beach, NH Studying Abroad Missing Since 2/19/14 in Rome, Italy (Update: Found Dead in Italy Railroad Tunnel)

21 year old John Durkin of  Rye Beach, NH, an American student from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine has gone missing while studying abroad in Rome, Italy. Friends traveling with the group said Durkin has not been seen since February 19., 2014. They said he went out to a bar and never returned.  The students left for Rome in January through a program at Trinity College, which has a campus in Rome. John Durkin went missing from Sloppy Sam’s. This was the last place that John Durkin was seen.

John Durkin_missing

John Durkin … Missing in Rome, Italy

An American student studying abroad in Italy is missing, his college said.

John Durkin is an economics major from Rye Beach, New Hampshire. He attends Bates College in Maine, but was taking part in a study abroad program in Rome through Trinity College in Connecticut.

He’s been in Rome for a little more than a month as part of a semester-long program, according to Tom Durkin, a family spokesman.

Two days ago, he went to a bar with a group of friends and never returned, according to the spokesman, who said he left the bar alone.

John Durkin_missing2

via Twitter

Statement from Bates College:

Staff from Trinity College are working with the Italian authorities to determine the circumstances surrounding his disappearance.

This situation is deeply distressing for John’s family, his fellow students and the entire Bates community. We are working actively with Trinity College to monitor events as they evolve, and we will share information as it becomes available.

John Durkin_missing3

The family is asking anyone around the world with information to contact them via Twitter via their newly-established account @JDurkinMissing.

UPDATE I: Missing 21 Year Old John Durkin Found Dead Saturday in Railroad Tunnel in Rome, Italy.

21 year old John Durkin was was deceased in Rome, Italy Saturday.  His body was found dead inside a railroad tunnel in central Rome. According to accounts, John Durkin had been hit by a train; however, investigators are still looking into the death of the Bates college student.

A Bates College student who went missing two days ago while traveling in Italy has been found dead, authorities said Saturday.

The body of 21-year-old John Durkin, of Rye Beach, N.H., was discovered in a railroad tunnel in Rome, authorities said. CNN reported that Rome railroad police said he had been hit by a train.

The State Department confirmed the find but did not release details about the circumstances of the death, citing “respect for the family at this difficult time.”


Statement from Family:

“It is with much sadness that the Durkin family informs you of the loss of John Nolen Durkin and thanks everyone for their support during the past few days.”

Statement from Bates said President Clayton Spencer:

“This is a time of deep sadness for our community and for so many people who knew and loved John.  We are profoundly sad and share the tremendous grief of his family.”

Olympic Teams From Germany, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia and Slovenia Get Terror Threat Ahead of Sochi Winter Games

Will the Sochi Winter Olympics be terror free or are wee about to see terrorism on a world state in real time with social media 24/7?

Ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympics and with previous video threats of terror acts promised to take place and with Russian authorities on high alert, it is now being reported that teams from Germany, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia and Slovenia have received terror threats not to send their athletes to the games. Authorities are already on the look out for “Black Widow’s” and other terrorists ahead of the games. Needless to say, talk about a dicey situation.

The Olympic teams of at least five countries said Wednesday that they had received emails threatening attacks at the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, adding to mounting security fears two weeks before competition begins.

The International Olympic Committee told NBC News that it did not consider the threats credible and said that it appeared to be “a random message from a member of the public.”

The Olympic organizing committees of Germany, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia and Slovenia reported getting threats.

According to Zsigmond Nagy, an official of the Hungarian Olympic Committee, he stated the following“I am very pleased to inform everyone that both the IOC and the Sochi organizing committee … declared after the analysis of the letter that this threat is not real,”  “This person has been sending all kinds of messages to many members of the Olympic family.” Hmm, not sure how this individual is so sure.

UPDATE I: The International Olympic Committee said Wednesday that the letter sent to the HOC did not represent any threat to athletes. I guess it all depends on how one defines a threat to athletes. However, the German team described the email as a “terror warning” with words to the effect of “be careful out there in Sochi” and the Italian Olympic Committee described the email as containing “terrorist threats.” That sounds much different that the IOC looking to present a positive front.

“The IOC treats security issues very seriously and forwards any reliable information to the security services. However, it appears that in this case, the letter sent to the HOC does not contain any threat,” an IOC spokesperson told R-Sport.

The Sochi organizing committee also assessed the letter and said there is no real threat, and that the author has also been sending messages to other countries competing in the Olympics, HOC international relations director Zsigmond Nagy told Reuters.

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