Italian Justice Minister Andrea Orlando received bullets and a threatening letter on Thursday, written in Arabic and purporting to be from the so-called Islamic State, a ministry spokeswoman said.

She said the letter was signed "ISIS", an acronym for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the hardline Islamist group that has proclaimed a caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria.

Delivered to the ministry in Rome along with two bullets for a Kalashnikov, the letter contained the phrase: "We will come to Rome and cut off your head. God is great," the spokeswoman said.

We will come to Rome and cut off your head

The letter and bullets have been sent for analysis along with the envelope they arrived in, which was addressed to the minister and stencilled in English.

Italy ramped up security after Islamist attacks in Paris on November 13 killed 130 people. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the gun and bomb assault on the French capital.

Neither Orlando nor the ministry had received threats of this kind in the past, the spokeswoman said.

Bullets are among the objects Italy's organised crime groups have traditionally sent in the post to threaten their enemies.

Justice Minister Owen Bonnici was among those who showed solidarity with the Italian minister.

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