Italian police arrested two illegal migrants, who attacked soldiers on patrol outside a historic Rome Basilica as part of security arrangements for jubilee celebrations. The assailants shouted Islamic slogans and attempted to snatch the officers’ weapons but were instead subdued, authorities said. The incident occurred outside the Patriarchal Basilica of St Mary Major, Rome’s largest Catholic Marian church, which dates back to the fifth century and is situated mid-way between the Colosseum and the main train station. Police identified the attackers only as F.A. and D.E. − a Palestinian and a Tunisian aged around 40 and 30 years, saying the two men, who were not armed, uttered “offensive remarks” and slogans “exalting Allah” before charging the military patrol. Local media reports said they shouted the Islamic phrase “Allahu Akbar” (God is great). As they were restrained by security forces, the pair urged onlookers to come to their aid and they are thus facing charges of incitement to terrorism, in addition to resisting arrest and making threats. Upon arrest they were brought to a local police station, where they continued to use offensive language, lambasting against police and EU countries in Arabic and Italian.
They were charged with resisting and threatening an officer and instigation to commit a crime with intent to commit terrorist acts, slapped with an expulsion order, and taken to a migrant reception center in the southern city of Bari prior to repatriation. A background check revealed they had several expulsion orders pending, police said.