A propaganda poster released by a pro-Islamic State group this week called on ISIS followers to attack the Vatican on Christmas, the SITE Intelligence Group revealed.
The image from the Wafa Media Foundation shows a car driving into St. Peter’s Basilica, an Italian Renaissance church in Vatican City. They also wrote on the poster that the attack should take place on Christmas day.
Experts said it’s unlikely ISIS forces could enter Rome or the Vatican anytime soon, as the group recently was defeated militarily and driven out of its strongholds in Iraq and Syria. However, experts say it’s important to take seriously the threat against the Vatican.
This is not the first time the Islamic State has specifically threatened the Vatican. In August, a pro-ISIS group released a video calling for attacks on Pope Francis and for Catholic icons to be destroyed. The video showed jihadists tearing photographs of the pope.
“We will have our vengeance, we will arrive in Rome,” the jihadists said in the video.
Members of the Swiss Guard, the security force that protect the Vatican, said they believed it was “only a matter of time” before an attack was carried out in the holy city. Last year, Italian police arrested four men in connection with an alleged plot against the Vatican.