A 22-year-old illegal Algerian immigrant was arrested on a charge of attempted terrorism after trying to drive a stolen car into a crowd in front of the Shrine of Pompeii Basilica, only to be stopped by concrete bollards.
The attempted attacker, 22-year-old migrant Othman Jridi, told police his motivation for the failed attack saying, “I did it in the name of Allah,” Corriere del Mezzogiorno reports.
Jridi came to Italy after being expelled from France and was also told to the leave the country by the police chief of Cagliari, yet remained in in the country.
Judge Fernanda Iannone, an expert on international terrorism, agreed to allow prosecution against the failed asylum seeker to go ahead and ordered him to be put in pre-trial detention due to the severity of the crime.
The Algerian was also charged and found guilty of the two lesser offences of stealing a car and lying to public officials. According to police, after being arrested Jridi lied about his identity and gave investigators the address of one of his friends rather than his own.
When police took him to the address he gave, Jridi is said to have told his friend, “You say I live here, otherwise they will arrest me,” in Arabic. Judge Iannone handed down a two and a half year sentence for the minor charges and passed on all of the information to the Naples Public Prosecutor’s Office who will prosecute the terrorism charges.
Islamist Propaganda Video Claims Pope, Italy Next Targets
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 27, 2017
While there have yet been major terror attacks in Italy in recent years, a number potential attacks have been thwarted by Italian authorities who have been credited with keeping the country safe from radical Islamic terror.
A report from the Economist magazine claimed that Italy’s long-standing battle with the Mafia as well as experience in dealing with terrorism in past decades has made authorities much better equipped to deal with radical Islamic terror than many other European counterparts.
Despite the success, many in Italy are on high alert over Easter weekend including the Vatican whose security has been placed on high alert to protect the projected large crowds of pilgrims and worshippers from attack.