Mohammed Hlal, 27, studied international communications in the central town of Perugia before being sent back to Morocco by Italian police along with 22-year-old Errahmouni Ahmed, who studied maths and physics also in Perugia.
“Hlal wished for the death of the head of the Vatican City state, saying he was ready to kill him to ensure his own ascent to heaven,” said the expulsion decree signed by Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni.
The ministry said Friday the two were placed on a Casablanca-bound plane in Rome on April 29 in order to “safeguard the security of the state” and to prevent terrorism, the interior ministry said, citing phone tapped conversations as evidence.
News magazine Panorama, owned by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s family, reported on Friday that local anti-terrorist police had tapped Hlal’s phone and had raised the alarm when he said he wanted to acquire explosives.
The magazine said police discovered a map of Turin at Errahmouni’s house annotated with numbers and circles, ahead of a visit to the northern Italian city by Pope Benedict on May 2 to venerate the Shroud of Turin, which many Catholics believe was Jesus Christ’s burial cloth.
Panorama described Errahmouni as a computer expert who remained in contact with militant groups over the Internet. It said Perugia had become a centre for travelling imams to preach radical Islam.
The deportations followed an investigation begun by anti-terrorism police last October into a group of radical Muslim foreign students in Italy,most of whom came from the Moroccan city of Fez. The interior ministry said the two deported Moroccans belonged to this group.
Anti-terror police also searched the homes of several foreign students at Perugia, including four Moroccans, a Tunisian and a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship, who had in recent months had contact with the two deported Moroccans.