Pope Francis leads the Angelus prayer
Pope Francis leads the Angelus prayer to celebrate All Saints' Day in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican November 1, 2013.REUTERS/Tony Gentile

The Islamic State militants after announcing their caliphate had made it quite clear that the terrorist group wants to establish an Islamic base in the Vatican.

Soon after this, reports indicated that the ISIS could be planning to assassinate Pope Francis.

The assassination rumours of the Pope gained traction after an Italian daily Il Tempo, citing sources from an Israeli Intelligence claimed that the Pope is "in the crosshairs of ISIS".

The report noted that the 77-year old religious leader was being targeted because he is "the greatest exponent of the Christian religions" and the "bearer of false truth".

The Vatican, however, rubbished these claims stating that there is no perceived threat on the Pope's life. "There is nothing serious to this. This news has no foundation," Father Federico Lombardi S.J, a Vatican spokesman, told Catholic News Agency (CNA).

This view from Vatican is also shared by a Newsweek correspondent Nicholas Farrell, who was told by an Italian intelligence contact that though "the Pope is the firing line as he always has been... Islamists have not attempted to assassinate the Pope or blow up St Peter's so far because the Islamists regard Italy as a strategic place to launch attacks and not the main enemy like America or Britain".

"The Pope and Vatican are not number one targets because the Islamists want to keep Italy sweet - to use Italy as a base rather than a target," Farrell added.

However, it is worth mentioning that despite its claims of no threat on the life of Roman Catholic Church head, the CNA report noted that Italy recently had issued a nationwide terror alert.

The security-beef up came after Pope used unusually strong language to condemn the actions of Islamists in Iraq, The Guardian had reported.

Earlier this month, during his traditional Sunday blessing, Pope without referring the ISIS name, had deplored the actions of the group and said: "Hatred is not to be carried in the name of God. War is not to be waged in the name of God."

A jihad recruiter, Imam Bilal Bosnic in an interview with La Repubblica, noted that ISIS did have grand plans for Vatican.

"We Muslims believe that one day the whole world will be an Islamic state. Our goal is to make sure that even the Vatican will be Muslim. Maybe I will not be able to see it, but that time will come," he told the newspaper.

Amidst the assassination rumours, the Pope recently also had predicted that he only had two or three years to live.