Islamic State supporters ‘plot to blow up Venice’s Rialto Bridge’

Islamic State supporters ‘plot to blow up Venice’s Rialto Bridge’

Three alleged supporters of Islamic State have been arrested on suspicion of plotting to blow up the Rialto Bridge in Venice.

The 16th-century bridge spans the Grand Canal and is often packed with tourists.

Italian police reportedly intercepted phone conversations of the Kosovans discussing a potential terrorist attack and that the men were motivated by the attack on Westminster Bridge in London last week.

Fisnik Bekaj, 25, Dake Haziraj, 26, and Arjan Babaj, 28, were arrested when police raided properties near St Mark’s Square.

They were first put under surveillance last year, when Bekaj returned from Syria, police said.

Two of those arrested were working as waiters in Venice and all were found to have watched jihadist propaganda online, learning how to kill with a knife or build bombs, police said. A minor was also held during the raid.

Officers recorded one of the men as saying: “You’ll go straight to paradise because of all the infidels in Venice. Put a bomb on the Rialto.”

The group expressed unconditional loyalty to Islamic State, lead investigator Adelchi D’Ippolito told The Times.

“It wasn’t just theory and dogma. They really agreed with and appreciated the London attack,” he said.

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