|A soldier patrols Saint Mark's Square in Venice|
A minor from Kosovo was also was detained to prevent him from interfering with the probe, police said. All had papers allowing them to live legally in Italy.
Up to three other Kosovars were also under investigation over their ties to those arrested, Adelchi D’Ippolito, Venice’s chief prosecutor, told a news conference streamed online.
Police had been monitoring the group since last year. They tapped their phones, bugged their apartments and followed their online communications, and what emerged was “disturbing and worrying”, D’Ippolito said.
The group had expressed an unconditional support for Islamic State, he added.
|File photo: A view of Rialto Bridge in Venice|
D’Ippolito said all the detained lived in the historic centre of Venice, an ancient city in the north of Italy famous for its many canals.
In a statement, city mayor Luigi Brugnaro thanked police for “breaking up a dangerous and active jihadist cell in the centre of the city.”
Police also carried out 10 raids overnight in Venice, one in the neighbouring town of Mestre and one in nearby Treviso.