A tourist was forced to her knees at knifepoint at Rome’s Colosseum in a terrifying attack that recalled an ISIS-style execution.

Hundreds of horrified visitors to the Italian landmark looked on as the attacker held a kitchen knife to the neck of a 26-year-old woman and yelled ‘Allah is great’ and ‘It is God that sends me’.

The man held Chiara Frisco hostage for several minutes as he yelled religious fanaticism at the crowd with police powerless to act.

One witness said: ‘It seemed like a scene from ISIS.

‘He made the girl get down on her knees like you see in the terrorists’ videos, while he held a knife to her throat.

‘The only thing missing was the orange jumpsuit.’

Chiara Frisco

Chiara Frisco

Others told Il Messaggero he was yelling ‘incomprehensible things, but among them “Allah is great”.’

Miss Frisco, from Vasto on the Adriatic coast, who was visiting her sister in Rome to celebrate her graduation, said she feared ‘the worst’ when the knifeman grabbed her.

Speaking from hospital where she was being treated for shock, she said: ‘We came from Vasto to celebrate my sister’s graduation.

‘We were supposed to meet her in the evening. While waiting we decided to take a walk and go and see the Colosseum.’

She was sitting on a low wall with my boyfriend and other friends on Monday afternoon when the ‘maniac’ struck.

She told La Repubblica: ‘I felt myself pulled suddenly into the middle of the crowd. Then I felt the blade of the knife that he was holding against me. I feared the worst would happen.

‘I could not see the weapon. The whole attack lasted seconds but I felt a tremendous fear.

‘The man was yelling like a maniac. Luckily the police came though.’

When the police arrived, the attacker ran off through the Forum packed with tourists towards the centre of Rome, piazza Venezia, where he was disarmed and arrested.

She added: ‘None of us expected any sort of aggression in the centre of Rome. I don’t think I’ll stay here to see my sister – when I get out of here I just want to go home.’

One policemen that intervened at the scene explained how officers were unable to shoot the attacker for fear of injured people in the crowd.

He said: ‘He made the girl kneel and held the knife to her throat. It seemed like an ISIS film that you see online.

‘I was afraid that he would cut her throat but we could not shoot their were too many people.

Two of us approached from the side and one from behind. And when he lowered the knife we intervened.’

Officers kicked him in the back and he lost his balance, let go of the girl and tried to flee, he explained.

A 33-year-old Brazilian man, of no fixed abode, was arrested and held on suspicion of attempted murder and resisting arrest.

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