Soccer – France, Spain tighten security for Champions League games citing Islamic State threats

By Thomson Reuters Apr 9, 2024 | 7:37 AM

PARIS/MADRID (Reuters) – France and Spain will step up security ahead of the Champions League quarter-finals being held in Madrid and in Paris on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, top government officials said, citing threats from the Islamic State.

“Regarding the game that will take place in the Paris region, the head of police has considerably strengthened security,” French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told reporters at a press event on Olympic Games security.

Paris-St-Germain are due to play Barcelona in Paris on Tuesday night.

“We have seen, among other things, a communication from the Islamic State that particularly targets stadiums. It is not new,” he added.

Islamic State was alleged to have threatened four venues for this week’s Champions League matches, including the Parc des Princes in Paris and two games in Madrid hosted by Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, who face Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund respectively.

In London, Arsenal take on Bayern Munich in their quarter-final on Tuesday night.

Spanish police forces will deploy 2,000 extra officers to boost security in the capital for the two games, government spokesperson Pilar Alegria told reporters on Tuesday.

She said the terrorism alert level had been raised to 4 on a scale of 5.

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the recent attack on a Moscow concert hall that killed at least 143 people.

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon, Vincent Daheron, Emma Pinedo; Editing by Hugh Lawson)