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Italian authorities alerted of possible terror attacks

Thursday, August 22, 2002

ROME -- Security forces have been warned about the possibility of attacks on religious ceremonies in Italy after anti-terror investigators came across postcards with pictures of Italian churches, an Interior Ministry official said Wednesday.

The official refused to identify the churches or say where the postcards were found, but said authorities distributed a warning to domestic security forces in July. The Interior Ministry is responsible for domestic security.

"The postcards were found during an investigation in several places," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"These are still confidential investigations."

Word of the warnings came a day after police arrested four Moroccans and an Italian suspected of planning to attack a Bologna basilica with a 15th-century fresco inside that depicts the Muslim prophet Muhammad being devoured by demons in hell.

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