North African Broke Into Milan Cathedral, Took Guard Hostage at Knifepoint

AP Photo/Luca Bruno

A North African migrant broke into Milan’s historic cathedral and took a security guard hostage with a knife.

The migrant is said to have been sitting on the steps of the cathedral before the attack, arousing the suspicion of police officers who then approached him. As they did, he ran towards the entrance of the cathedral and overwhelmed a security guard.

According to a report from newspaper Il Giornale, the migrant took out a knife and took the security guard hostage, forcing him to kneel.

Six police officers then encircled the migrant before tackling and disarming him.

Footage of the incident was posted to social media by national-conservative Brothers of Italy (FdI) leader Giorgia Meloni. She commented: “An immigrant with a residence permit, despite a history of committing robberies. He entered the Milan Cathedral and pointed a knife to the throat of a security guard.”

“What was he still doing in Italy and on the loose? Enough good-natured policies: it’s time for zero tolerance for those who come to Italy to commit crimes,” she declared. 

The security guard suffered minor injuries and refused hospital treatment. Italian police and soldiers briefly cordoned off the entire cathedral square.

According to the newspaper, investigators have ruled out a terrorist motive. However, the Milan Public Prosecutor’s Office and the General Investigations and Special Operations Division (DIGOS) are still investigating the attack.

Anna Scavuzzo, Deputy Mayor of Milan, suggested that the attack was motivated by the migrant wanting to avoid a security check and praised police for their quick action.

Paolo Grimoldi, a local member of Matteo Salvini’s League (Lega) party, called Milan a “city that symbolises degradation, a city in disarray in terms of public order, with stabbings and rapes every day”.

The populist leader blamed leftist mayor Beppe Sala and Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese for growing problems with illegal migrant crime.

“If Milan is full of illegal immigrants, it is only because of them. Yet they are the ones to sit at the table on public order? This is a joke,” he said.

The incident comes just days after migrants reportedly used government holiday cash to assault and rob tourists along the Italian Riviera.

A report from 2018 suggested that foreigners commit as many as one in three crimes in the country, despite the overall foreign population of Italy sitting at just eight per cent.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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