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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Italy Arrests 4 Suspected Terrorists

ROME -- Italian police have arrested four Moroccans in possession of powdered cyanide, maps marking the U.S. Embassy in Rome and the capital's water supply network, officials said Wednesday.

Il Messaggero, a Rome daily, said the suspected Islamic terrorists were in possession of 4 kilograms of powdered cyanide and maps of Rome's water system. According to the paper, investigators believe the men were planning to contaminate water supplies in the capital, including the commercial area where the U.S. Embassy is located.

The operation was described as the biggest investigation so far into suspected Islamic terrorists in the capital. Arrests were carried out before dawn Tuesday on a raid in a poor neighborhood on the southern outskirts of Rome.

Colonel Gianfranco Cavallo, an official with the Carabinieri paramilitary police who carried out the arrests, refused to disclose details.

But Interior Ministry Undersecretary Alfredo Mantovano told Italian state radio that police and intelligence services had worked together in the probe.

The embassy said it would issue a statement later in the day.

Last year, the U.S. Embassy in Rome was closed to the public because of a terrorist threat.

State radio said about 100 blank documents used to certify that foreigners have permission to live in Italy were found in the suspects' apartments.

Italian news agency ANSA said the men were aged between 30 and 40.

Three other Moroccans had been arrested in the capital last week, according to Italian news reports.

Il Messaggero said one of the four Moroccans had links to a suspected Milan cell that was dismantled last year when seven Tunisians were arrested.