What we know about ‘ISIS terror threats’ to Champions’ League games

Soccer Football - Champions League - Quarter Final - First Leg - Arsenal v Bayern Munich - Emirates Stadium, London, Britain - April 9, 2024 General view of a police car outside the stadium before the match REUTERS/David Klein
The Met Police is 'aware' of a potential threat on Tuesday at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium. (Reuters) (Reuters / Reuters)

UEFA has insisted this week’s Champions League quarter-final ties will go ahead as planned, despite reports of Islamic State (ISIS) terror threats.

While Arsenal take on Bayern Munich at London's Emirates Stadium on Tuesday evening, Manchester City are playing Real Madrid in the Spanish capital.

Madrid will also be host to Atletico's match with Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday, while Barcelona will play Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris.

London's Metropolitan Police have said they are "aware" of an apparent terror threat against stadiums hosting this week's matches, following a post by a pro-ISIS media channel.

The force said it has a "robust" plan in place for Tuesday's Arsenal game and urged members of the public to "remain vigilant" and report anything that doesn’t look or feel right.

UEFA said it is "closely liaising with the authorities at the respective venues" and says all matches will go ahead "with appropriate security arrangements in place".

Police arrive to patrol outside Arsenal's Emirates Stadium ahead of the Champions League quarterfinal 1st leg soccer match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich in London, Tuesday, April 9, 2024. This week's Champions League soccer games will go ahead as scheduled despite an Islamic State terror threat. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Police patrol outside the Emirates Stadium ahead of Tuesday's match with Bayern Munich. (Alamy) (Frank Augstein, Associated Press)

Here, Yahoo News explains what we know about the treats so far.

What we know

The suspected terror threat first came to light following a post by Al Azaim Foundation, a mouthpiece responsible for spreading the so-called Islamic State's messages, MailOnline reported.

Captioned "kill them all", the post lists all four stadiums involved in this week's quarter-finals.

The post urges followers to recreate a November 2015 attack on the Stade de France stadium, according to Site Intelligence group, which tracks Islamic militant communications.

"Recreate the glory of the Paris 2015 raid and subdue the Crusaders in masses," it says, including an image of PSG's Parc des Princes stadium.

In a statement, Met Police deputy assistant Commissioner Ade Adelekan said: “The UK terrorism threat level remains at ‘substantial’ meaning an attack is likely, and we work closely with colleagues from across Counter Terrorism Policing in planning for events here in London.

"We're aware of online and media reports in relation to calls to target matches across Europe and here in London. However, I want to reassure the public that we have a robust policing plan in place for tonight's match and we continue to work closely alongside the club’s security team to ensure that the match passes peacefully.

“As ever, we ask the public to remain vigilant, and if they see anything that doesn’t look or feel right, then report it to police or security staff.”

Soccer Football - Champions League - Quarter Final - First Leg - Real Madrid v Manchester City - Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain - April 9, 2024 Police is seen outside the stadium before the match REUTERS/Violeta Santos Moura
Police in the Spanish capital on standby ahead of Real Madrid's match with Manchester City. (Reuters) (REUTERS / Reuters)

An Arsenal spokesperson said: “We work closely with the Metropolitan Police regarding the safety and security of all supporters and staff at Emirates Stadium for all our matches.

“Our planning for tonight’s fixture is no different and our approach, working together with the Police and UEFA, is proportionate to the current UK threat level.”

Meanwhile, UEFA said it is "aware of alleged terrorist threats made towards this week’s UEFA Champions League matches" and is "closely liaising with the authorities at the respective venues". The European football body added: “All matches are planned to go ahead as scheduled with appropriate security arrangements in place.”

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said police had considerably strengthened security". He added: "We have seen, among other things, a communication from the Islamic State that particularly targets stadiums. It is not new."

Spain’s interior ministry said the country's terror alert level remained at four of five, the Guardian reports, it said 2,000 officers from the national police and Guardia Civil forces would be deployed to help municipal police,

What we don't know

We don't have any details on what ISIS terrorists are allegedly planning this week, if indeed there are any plots at all, or how these supposed attacks would take place.

We also don't know how severe an attack, if it happens, would be, but the Metropolitan Police is taking the threats seriously, with a source telling LBC that the force has cancelled holiday for senior officers this week.

Asked about the prospect of an attack, PSG coach Luis Enrique told reporters: "Of course, it's worrying... Who in this room isn't worried? It's something I hope can be controlled, and that they're just threats and that nothing disastrous happens."

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