From an article in The National Post: “Pope Francis is at risk of an assassination attempt by ISIS extremists, the Vatican has been warned before his first visit to a Muslim-majority country this weekend.
Iraq’s ambassador to the Holy See said yesterday that there were credible threats to the Pope’s life as he prepares to visit Albania on Sunday.
The 77-year-old pontiff could also be vulnerable when he travels to Turkey in November, Habeeb al-Sadr said.
Jihadists from Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham have in recent weeks boasted of wanting to extend their so-called caliphate to Rome, and have talked of planting the jihadi black flag on top of St Peter’s Basilica.
They could try to kill him during one of his overseas trips or even in Rome
Mr. Sadr said there were also indications of a more specific threat against the Pope, who he said had made himself a target by speaking out against abuses committed against Christians in Syria and Iraq, as well as expressing his support for the US in its efforts to halt the advance of ISIS.
“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,” the ambassador told Italy’s La Nazione newspaper yesterday.
“I believe they could try to kill him during one of his overseas trips or even in Rome. There are members of ISIS who are not Arabs but Canadian, American, French, British, also Italians. ISIS could engage any of these to commit a terrorist attack in Europe.”
America’s most senior military officer last night admitted that ground troops may be needed to defeat ISIS. General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said that U.S. troops may be required to join combat missions with Iraqi forces to help direct air strikes.
His statement put him at odds with the White House’s promise there will be “no U.S. boots on the ground.”
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