The mayor of Venice Luigi Brugnaro has said whoever is caught shouting Allahu Akbar in the city’s St Marks Square will be fatally shot.

Brugnaro made the announcement during a gathering of mayors in the city of Rimini on the Adriatic coast in Italy.

Giving the mandate to the city’s police, he said: “If someone shouts Allahu Akbar while running through St Mark’s Square, we’ll shoot them. A year ago, I said after four steps, now I’m saying after three.

“We arrested four terrorists in Venice who wanted to blow up the Rialto Bridge. But we will send them directly to Allah without having to do any harm before.”

Brugnaro said Venice is paranoid about safety unlike Barcelona, where 14 people died last week in a terror attack.

“Unlike in Barcelona, where they did not have the protections, we keep our guard high. We do not challenge anyone. We are sending a message of support to the police forces who must know that we are on their side,” he said.

The mayor has, more than once, courted controversy since he was elected two years ago.

Shortly after his election, Brugnaro removed 49 books about same-sex relationships from Venetian schools, and a month later, he attempted to ban gay pride parades in Venice.

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