ROME, April 24 (UPI) -- Italian police disrupted an al-Qaida terror cell that was reportedly planning a suicide attack on the Vatican.
Caligari Chief Prosecutor Mauro Mura told reporters Friday the arrests were the result of intelligence and years of wiretaps that gave "signals of some preparation for a possible attack" against the Vatican as well as terror attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Multiple raids were carried out Friday in seven Italian provinces, including on the island of Sardinia where the cell was believed to be headquartered.
Some of the cell members have been tied to a deadly attack on a Pakistani market in Peshawar in October 2009 that killed more than 200 people and others to migrant trafficking.
According to investigators, the terror cell in 2010 discussed attacking the Vatican, around the same time a possible suicide bomber arrived in Italy from Afghanistan. Those attack plans did not materialize and the suicide bomber left Italy.
The anti-terror operation is ongoing, added Paolo Meloni, a police spokesman in Sassari, Sardinia where the investigation is being coordinated.