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."
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.
(Translation: Remember snow tires or chains if you take the highway. Otherwise we sequester the tank.)
With food recommendations.
A whole load of general complaints about their domestic woes.
And plenty of references to a recent soccer match against a Dutch team.
(Translation: Unfortunately for them, Feyenoord fans have arrived already)
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.