I HAVE BEEN EXPECTING THIS:
VATICAN CITY — As Pope Francis continues to straddle the fine line between calling for the end of persecution of Christians in Iraq and blessing American airstrikes against the Islamic State (also known as the “Caliphate,” ISIS, or ISIL), there is increasing concern for the pontiff’s—and the public’s—safety.
Earlier this week, the Roman newspaper Il Tempo published a disturbing report that Francis is “in the crosshairs” of ISIS for “bearing false witness” against Islam.
Citing anonymous sources within Italy’s intelligence community and pointing to notable heightened security in Rome, the paper went on to say that ISIS plans to heat things up by “raising the level of confrontation” with Europe, Italy and very specifically Pope Francis, the “greatest exponent of the Christian religions.”
The terrorism alert came the day after Italy’s parliament approved a measure to start shipping weapons to help arm Kurdish peshmerga troops fighting ISIS—a promise made by Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi on a state visit to Iraq earlier this month.
Sicilian seaports that will facilitate the shipment have already stepped up security measures, especially on incoming vessels.