BELGRADE – Rome is bracing itself for terrorist attacks by Albanian ISIS recruits based in Italy, La Republica reported last week.

According to La Republica, the terrorist threat for Italy does not come from the desperate migrants seeking a better life but on the contrary, from Albanian villages “which have raised ISIS flags”.

The report focused on villages bordering with Kosovo, and quoted a source from the Italian intelligence services as saying, “this is a powder keg […] Italy is an exposed country”, EurActiv.com reported.

The risk is particularly apparent in the province of Puglia, a stone-throw from the Balcan country across the Adriatic sea, and it’s believed that the local Albanian mafia, organized crime, and drug trafficking are involved.

Top police chief Franco Gabrielli shocked Italians last week when he said that “ISIS will strike Italy soon”.

“I say it openly: we will have to pay a price as well,” Gabrielli warned.

In late December, Italy expelled a Tunisian who planned terrorist attacks in the country.

“In mid-November, he had been instructed to carry out terrorist attacks in Italy, similar to those that took place in France and Belgium, in retaliation for Italian firms in Libya,” the Italian ministry of domestic affairs said in a statement.”

Since the birth of the Islamic State, a significant number of foreign fighters have been recruited from the Western Balkans, including at least 1,000 fighters from Albania.

Contacted by EurActiv.com, Albania’s Ambassador in Brussels, Suela Janina, said that the report was fake and questioned the validity of the unnamed sources who were quoted.