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Published On: Sat, May 29th, 2010

Mohamed Hlal, Ahmed Errahmouni Moroccan students arrested after plot to kill Pope Benedict XVI

Two Moroccan students deported from Italy last month were suspected of plotting to assassinate Pope Benedict XVI, an Interior Ministry source says.

Mohamed Hlal, 26, and Ahmed Errahmouni, 22, students at the University for Foreigners in the central Italian city of Perugia, had been under surveillance by anti-terrorist police for months before they were expelled on April 29.

“During their inquiry, investigators found evidence suggesting the two (suspects) were plotting an attack on the pope,” said the source.

An interior ministry statement issued at the time of their deportation said they were being expelled under prevention of terrorism laws.

Six other foreign students, suspected of contacts with militant Islamic groups, are still under investigation.

Local anti-terrorist police had tapped Hlal’s phone and had raised the alarm when he said he wanted to acquire explosives. Police discovered a map of Turin at Errahmouni’s house annotated with numbers and circles, ahead of a visit to the northern Italian city by Pope Benedict on May 2 to venerate the Shroud of Turin, which many Catholics believe was Jesus Christ’s burial cloth.

Panorama described Errahmouni as a computer expert who remained in contact with militant groups over the Internet. It said Perugia had become a centre for travelling imams to preach radical Islam.

Intelligence reports and arrests show militant Islamic groups linked to al Qaeda, especially in North Africa, are active in Italy, mostly recruiting and financing for attacks planned elsewhere in Europe.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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