Italian and Kosovan authorities just busted an Islamic State terror cell which was planning a brutal attack on Pope Francis.
Authorities in a joint operation arrested four people in Kosovo Tuesday, The Local reports. Police suspect the head of the group, who had weapons in his possession, originated from Italy.
Security near the Vatican is already at a high point following the terrorist attacks in Paris which left 130 dead and 300 injured. ISIS released a video Nov. 16 claiming Rome and the pope are next on the hit list.
“By Allah, if we brought down France in its homeland, in Paris, then we swear, by the command of Allah, we will attack America in its heartland, in Washington, Allah permitting, and we will invade Rome, Allah permitting.”
Police describe this particular group as “highly dangerous.” They reportedly have ties to Syria.
The charges include inciting racial hatred and condoning terrorism, which stems from threats the group made against Francis and the ex-U.S. ambassador in Kosovo.
“This will be the last Pope,” the cell reportedly said online.
The group also lauded the Paris attacks. Italian police stepped up raids in Brescia, Vicenza and Perugia in an attempt to smash suspected terror cells. A week after the Paris attacks, police kicked four Moroccans out of the country for extremist views.
Italian police think ISIS may be planning attacks for Dec. 8 in Rome in time for the Jubilee of Mercy, the beginning of a holy year, which is expected to bring millions of pilgrims to Italy.
ISIS issued a credible threat against Francis before. During Francis’ tour in the United States in September, authorities picked up a teenager suspected of planning an attack. Police discovered multiple firearms in the teenager’s house during the raid.