Anyone shouting 'Allahu Akbar' in St Mark's Square will be shot, warns Venice mayor
Luigi Brugnaro, a right-wing politician, said the Italian city is safer than Barcelona – where at least 13 people were killed in a van attack last week – as greater security measures were in place.
"In contrast with Barcelona, where they had not set up protection, we keep our guard up," Brugnaro said at a conference in the city of Rimini.
"If anyone runs into St Mark's Square shouting 'Allahu Akhbar', we will take him down," he said. The phrase itself is widely-used by Muslims in prayer but has been increasingly appropriated by jihadists using it before or after an attack.
"A year ago I said after four steps, now after three. I will say it in Venetian: 'Ghe Sparemo' [We will shoot him]."
Brugnaro also referred to the arrest of four suspected jihadists from the Balkans in March, who allegedly plotted an attack on Venice’s famous Rialto Bridge.
"In Venice, we arrested four terrorists who wanted to blow up the Rialto Bridge, saying they wanted to go to Allah. But we'll send them straight to Allah before they can do any damage."
To defend his controversial remarks, Brugnaro said "I have never been politically correct, I am incorrect. I would shoot, we would shoot."
In the wake of the Barcelona attacks, greater security measures have been applied across Italy's most famous sites.
Concrete barriers were set up around major tourist attractions and pedestrian areas in Milan, Rome, Bologna and Turin.
Italy has not suffered attacks in the recent wake of terrorists attacks that hit Europe. However, Islamic State group has warned that the country is on its hit list.