ROME – Italy closed Genoa's airspace during the Group of Eight summit in July because it had information of an airborne threat against President Bush by Islamic extremists, according to Deputy Premier Gianfranco Fini.
Several news reports in the weeks before the July 20-22 summit said Usama bin Laden had threatened to assassinate Bush at the Genoa gathering.
Fini has since elaborated on the threats, saying Italian authorities took unprecedented security measures at Genoa — including closing the airspace and mounting a short-range, anti-aircraft battery at the Genoa airport.
"Islamic extremists were said to be trying to hit Bush in the air," Fini told the Italian newsweekly Panorama, which released excerpts from the interview Wednesday. Fini also mentioned the airborne threat in a TV appearance last week.