Venice, the capital of northern Italy’s Veneto region, is built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. It has no roads, just canals – including the Grand Canal thoroughfare – lined with Renaissance and Gothic palaces. The central square, Piazza San Marco, contains St. Mark’s Basilica. Earlier this week the city's mayor, Luigi Brugnaro said in a speech, “If anyone runs into St Mark’s Square shouting ‘Allahu Akhbar’, we will take him down." Adding, ""A year ago I said within four paces, now within three. I will say it in Venetian: ‘Ghe Sparemo’ (We will shoot him)."
Brugnaro was applauded by delegates when he said: “In contrast with Barcelona, where they had not set up protection, we keep our guard up."
The phrase in Arabic for 'God is greatest' has been shouted in multiple terrorist incidents across the continent and in the West, appearing in notes made by the 9/11 ringleader Mohamed Atta found after the attack on the World Trade Center. He wrote: “Shout ‘Allahu Akbar’ because this strikes fear in the hearts of the non-believers.”
The phrase was also used as inspiration by the killers of Lee Rigby in London and witnesses reported hearing the attackers at the Bataclan in Paris shouting out the phrase.
Mayor Brugnaro went on to say: "They wanted to go to Allah. But we'll send them straight to Allah before they can do any damage." Adding, "I have never been politically correct, in fact, I am politically correct and that’s why we also need a naval blockade against people coming into Italy from north Africa.”
During his speech, Brugnaro also reminded the crowd of the arrest in March of four suspected jihadists who allegedly planned to kill hundreds of tourist by blowing up the world famous Rialto bridge.
Venice was the backdrop for the opening scene in The Italian Job, a 2003 American heist film starring Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Jason Statham and Donald Sutherland. It is an American remake of the 1969 British film of the same name, and is about a team of thieves who plan to steal gold from a former associate who double-crossed them.
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