Venice, March 30 (IANS/AKI) Anti-terror police in the Italian city of Venice on Thursday arrested three Kosovan jihadist suspects who allegedly planned to blow up the lagoon city's iconic Rialto Bridge.
"Staging an attack in Venice will take you straight to paradise. There are so many unbelievers here that we need to put a bomb on the Rialto Bridge," one of the suspects said in a wiretapped conversation, prosecutor Adelchi D'Ippolito told reporters.
The "disturbing" remarks were overheard by investigators during intercepts of the four Kosvars which began last year, D'Ippolito added.
Police said they also detained a fourth suspect who is a minor and is also from Kosovo in the overnight raids on 12 apartments in Venice, in the nearby city of Mestre and the neighbouring province of Treviso.
All of the suspects arrested in the operation held Italian residence permits, police stated.
Thursday's operation was carried out the orders of prosecutors in Venice, police said.
The arrests followed a "complex" probe in which investigators from the the anti-terror squad, Digos, monitored the alleged jihadist cell members, who were involved in religious radicalisation before their arrests.
Italy has been on high alert since the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris in January 2015 and has further ratcheted up security since last week's terrorist attack in London.
A total of 21 terror suspects have been deported since the beginning of this year and 153 since January 2015, according to the Interior Ministry.