Vatican spokesman: ISIS threat to Pope Francis unfounded
In response to news circulating stating that the Islamic State has targeted Pope Francis as the “bearer of false truth,” Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. has stated that there is no reason for concern.
“There is nothing serious to this. There is no particular concern in the Vatican. This news has no foundation,” the spokesman told CNA Aug. 26.
Rumors about ISIS setting its sights on the Bishop of Rome spread following an Aug. 25 article published in Italian newspaper “It Tempo,” claiming the number of jihadists in Italy is on the rise due to the influx of unidentified immigrants in the country.
The article states that the Islamic fundamentalists, led by Al-Baghdadi, plan to “raise the level off confrontation” in Europe and alluded to Israeli sources who said that Pope Francis is “also in the crosshairs of ISIS” as “the greatest exponent of the Christian religions” and the “bearer of false truth.”
Al-Baghdadi has been named as Caliph – the head of state and absolute monarch – of the self-proclaimed Islamic State in western Iraq and north-eastern Syria, and is the former head of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also referred to as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Despite the fact that the reports regarding the threat of attacks in Europe and specifically of a danger to the Pope appear to be unfounded, an Aug. 20 article published by Italian news agency Rai reveals that Italy is tightening its security.
According to the agency, there have been no targeted threats or specific indications of attacks on Italy, however a nationwide alert has been issued.