There will be some extra tension in the crowd. EPA-EFE/Rodrigo Jimenez


Islamic State threatens terror attack on Champions League football matches


A possible terrorist attack by the Islamic State (IS) on the Champions League football quarter-finals this week has security forces concerned following a social media post.

Via the Al Azaim Foundation, a media outlet responsible for spreading messages from the the terrorist group, on April 8 the IS released a picture indicating it wanted to attack the four stadiums hosting the first-leg matches, stating: “Kill them all”.

The games will be played at Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid, Emirates Stadium in London, Civitas Metropolitano, also in Madrid and Parc des Princes in Paris.

The matches are Real Madrid vs Manchester City, Arsenal vs Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid vs Borussia Dortmund and PSG vs Barcelona.

That came after the IS-affiliated media site Sarh al-Khilafah revealed the group’s apparent plan to attack spectators at the Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund game at Munich’s Allianz Arena on March 31, although no such incident occurred.

Security services have been warning for months that Islamists want to target large gatherings and other so-called soft targets.

On March 22, the Khorasan Province branch of the IS had already struck at the Crocus Hall in Moscow, murdering 144 people and wounding 551.

Since before Christmas, many European countries have upped their terrorist-threat levels. In France, it was raised to the highest level after the Moscow attack last month.

In Spain it is at level 4, one below the maximum 5, prompting heightened surveillance and security measures. In the UK, the Security Service MI5 puts the threat level at 3 out of 5, or “substantial”, meaning an attack is deemed “likely”.

Spanish sports news outlet Marca said the Spanish interior ministry rated the threat at the Madrid matches as high-risk and that extra security had already been put in place.

A security meeting on the match on April 9 will determine if further security measures are needed.

Marca referred to the Champions League final of 2017 when the roof of Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium in Wales was closed amid the threat of drone attacks.

According to the Spanish sports news outlet, there is no direct cause for concern but those attending the quarter-finals should remain vigilant.