al-Qaeda 'Terrorist group may have planned an attack on Vatican city in 2010' - Italian prosecutors

Italian investigators have revealed that a militant ring was found to be operating in Sardinia, and there had been possible plans to target the Holy See.

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Indications have emerged that Islamist fundamentalist group, al-Qaeda may have planned an attack on Vatican City back in 2010.

BBC reports that investigators revealed that a militant ring was found to be operating in Sardinia, and there had been possible plans to target the Holy See.

Police issued 20 warrants and made nine arrests in raids today, Friday.

Some of the suspects are believed to have organised the 2009 market bombing in Peshawar in Pakistan while 2 of the men had provided protection for former al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

Speaking in a media briefing in Cagliari, Sardinia, prosecutor Mauro Mura revealed that wiretaps indicated the suspected terrorists had been planning a bomb attack at the Vatican in March 2010, citing the arrival of a suicide bomber in Rome as one of the indicators.

Police chief Mario Carta however said it was a strong suspicion and not proof.

But the Vatican has downplayed the significance of the claims with Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi saying:

"From what it appears, this concerns a hypothesis that dates from 2010 which didn't occur. It has therefore no relevance today and no reason for particular concern."

The suspects, who reportedly came from Pakistan and Afghanistan, were accused of staging attacks against the government in Pakistan.

The Italian militant ring was also said to be engaged in trafficking illegal migrants from Pakistan and Afghanistan to Europe, providing them with false documents.

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