Pope Francis At Risk Of ISIS Assassination, Iraqi Diplomat Claims

ISIS have made credible threats against the life of Pope Francis ahead of his planned visit to Albania, according to a top Iraqi diplomat.

As The Daily Mail reports, Habeeb Al Sadr, Iraq’s ambassador to the Vatican, warned that the Pope is a target of ISIS, although he admitted that he knew of no specific details. Speaking to Italian newspaper La Nazione, he asserted that the spread of extremists worldwide endangered the Pope’s safety.

“Threats against the Pope are credible. Public statements and crimes against Christianity by ISIS are a fact. Just put two and two together. Let me be clear, I am not aware of specific facts or operational projects. But what has been said by the self-declared ‘Islamic state’ terrorists is clear. They want to kill the Pope.”

The ambassador claimed that ISIS could try to strike at Pope Francis during one of his travels abroad, pointing out that there are members of the terrorist organization who are not Arabic in descent. As The Telegraph notes, Al Sadr said that the Pope had made himself a target by speaking out against human rights abuses committed against Christians by ISIS in Syria and Iraq, as the group has strengthened its hold over the region.

As The Inquisitr previously noted, Pope Francis has vocally supported efforts by the United States to roll back the spread of ISIS. Asserting that the current spate of global conflicts amount to World War Three fought piecemeal, the Pontiff said that the use of force to stop ISIS was justified. Pope Francis has also spoken out against making war in the name of God, accusing ISIS of unjust aggression.

ISIS jihadists have spoken in recent weeks about wanting to expand their caliphate into Rome. While Al Sadr claimed that there are indications of a more specific threat against Pope Francis, the Vatican said it had received no credible reports of a threat to the Pontiff’s life.

“There are no specific threats or risks that would change the Pope’s behavior or the way the trip is organized,” said the Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi.

During his upcoming trip to Albania, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass in the city’s main square, and travel in his usual, open-topped car, in spite of the ISIS threat.

[Image via The Telegraph]