In a recently released video that showed the killing of 21 Christians in Libya, all but one of them Egyptian, the Islamic State issued an ominous warning: “Today we are south of Rome,” one masked militant said. “We will conquer Rome with Allah’s permission.”
To make matters worse, Rita Katz, director of SITE Intelligence Group, pointed out that supporters of the Islamic State have begun using a hashtag to warn of their plan to reach "Rome."
— Rita Katz (@Rita_Katz) February 19, 2015
Exactly what "Rome" means to the Islamic State is unclear -- some experts say it may actually be a reference to the United States or Turkey, or even the West in general. But Italy is worried. Libya is just a short boat ride across the Mediterranean. Thousands of refugees already make this journey to Italian shores every year. What's to stop the Islamic State?
With warnings about the traffic.
— Mauro Giulivi (@Giulivello) February 20, 2015
#We_Are_Coming_O_Rome ahahah Be careful on the highway-Ring Road: there's too much traffic, you would remain trapped!
— Alessio Conte (@alessioconte28) February 19, 2015
Isis: #We_Are_Coming_O_Rome beware the tires, is full of glass.
— Mauro Fodaroni (@maurofodaroni) February 19, 2015
#We_Are_Coming_O_Rome hey just a tip: don't come in train, it's every time late!
— Giuseppe Di Chiara (@Giu_DiChiara) February 19, 2015
Tomorrow is strike of public transport. Good luck. #We_Are_Coming_O_Rome
— Alessandro Cocco (@AleCocco84) February 19, 2015
#We_Are_Coming_O_Rome Ricordatevi pneumatici da neve o catene a bordo se prendete l'autostrada. Sennò vi sequestrano il carro armato.
— Andy (@58_andy) February 20, 2015
(Translation: Remember snow tires or chains if you take the highway. Otherwise we sequester the tank.)
With food recommendations.
We will fight you to the sound of zampone and cotechino #We_Are_Coming_O_Rome
— Giovanni Caminati (@giocaminati) February 19, 2015
A whole load of general complaints about their domestic woes.
#We_Are_Coming_O_Rome You're too late , Italy is already been destroyed by their governments....
— Franco (@campafranco) February 20, 2015
— V (@cwithta) February 20, 2015
Please stay at home. We need to solve so many issues in this city, don't add you to this long list... #We_Are_Coming_O_Rome
— Graziella Giancaspro (@gragia86) February 19, 2015
#We_Are_Coming_O_Rome We are ready to meet you! We have nice Colosseum plot for sale, Accept Credit Cards Securely, bargain price.
— Alessio Floris (@Alessio_Floris) February 20, 2015
And plenty of references to a recent soccer match against a Dutch team.
— Alessandro Greco (@GrecOfficial) February 19, 2015
(Translation: Unfortunately for them, Feyenoord fans have arrived already)
— The Wolf of KTM (@TheWolfofKTM) February 20, 2015
By this point, the Italian responses to the hashtag far outweigh any from Islamic State supporters, and some Italian publications are beginning to wonder how notable the hashtag was to begin with.
But the response does serve as a useful reminder: Italians may be scared of apocalyptic Islamic State warnings, but in their day-to-day life, they have many other issues on their minds.