Police in Italy conducted a raid and roundup of several Islamic extremists on Friday, saying they’ve identified and captured some of the men they believe were part of a failed 2010 plot to attack the Vatican.
Fox News reported Italian security also believe the terror suspects helped carry out a 2014 bombing at a market in Pakistan that left more than 100 dead.
The arrest warrants for 18 were executed in a mass police mission against those suspected of ties with al-Qaida, the Express reported. Some were arrested in Italy; others are believed to have left the country.
Cagliari Chief Prosecutor Mauro Mura said the group had been planning to kick off various terror attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and members touted support for an “armed struggle against the West.”
Authorities also found a sizeable stock of weapons allegedly owned by the suspects.
“[They had] an abundant amount of weapons and numerous faithful willing to carry out acts of terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan before returning to Italy,” a police spokesman said, the Express reported.
The investigation, which included the widespread use of police wiretaps, also led police to arrest an Imam in the northern city of Bergamo who was suspected of collecting funds for the group and serving as its spiritual leader, the Express reported.
The terror plot against the Vatican went so far as the group sending a suicide bomber to Rome, Fox News reported. The bomber left without completing his mission, though authorities aren’t sure why.