Iraq Envoy Warns Pope of 'Credible' ISIS Death Threats

Says militants could strike during his trips to Albania, Turkey
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2014 11:41 AM CDT
Iraq Envoy Warns Pope of 'Credible' ISIS Death Threats
In this Sept. 10, 2014, file photo, Pope Francis walks during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.   (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, File)

Pope Francis may have solidified his enemy status when he said last month that ISIS must be stopped. Now Iraq's ambassador to the Vatican is warning that "threats against the pope are credible," and that he could be at risk during his visit to Albania this weekend or Turkey in November. "What has been declared by the self-declared Islamic State is clear—they want to kill the pope," Habeeb al-Sadr tells La Nazione, via the Telegraph. "I believe they could try to kill him during one of his overseas trips or even in Rome," al-Sadr says. "There are members of [ISIS] who are not Arabs, but Canadian, American, French, British, [and] also Italians."

The Vatican doesn't appear overly anxious about the warning. "There are no specific threats or risks that would change the pope's behavior or the way the trip is organized," a Vatican spokesman says, adding no additional security measures would be implemented. But the Iraqi ambassador is still nervous about ISIS, whose leader recently said he hoped the group could "conquer Rome and own the world, if Allah wills," Newsweek reports. "This band of criminals does not just issue threats," al-Sadr says via the Telegraph. "They have declared that whoever is not with them is against them. Either convert or be killed." (More ISIS stories.)

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