They’re ready to pop. It’s coming any day, any hour now. All across Europe.
Music festivals, sports venues and nightclubs on high alert for ISIS suicide attacks as police reveal England squad will be under armed guard at Euro 2016
- Police issued warning ahead of Euro 2016 and Glastonbury next month
- Crowded venues are ‘right at the top of the agenda’ for police
- Top anti-terrorism officer said ISIS bombers were a ‘principal threat’
Music festivals, sports venues and nightclubs have been placed on ‘high alert’ for ISIS suicide attacks, according to a top anti-terrorism officer.
Police issued a warning just ahead of the Euro 16 championships in France and the popular music festival Glastonbury starting next month.
Crowded entertainment venues were said to be ‘right at the top of the agenda’ after the Paris attacks at the Bataclan theatre killed 130 people last November – as it is revealed the England squad have been placed under armed guard.
Neil Basu, deputy assistant commissioner for the Metropolitan police, said ISIS bombers were a ‘principal threat’ to the safety of the public.
He told The Times: ‘The threat has become much more difficult to counter because it’s now potentially any time, any place, anywhere.
‘These people are perfectly happy to target civilians with the maximum terror impact. Crowded places were always a concern for us, but now they are right at the top of the agenda.’
He said big music events and stadiums were or particular concern and said the Paris bomb massacre had ‘put everyone on much higher alert’.
The officer claimed however that no exact information had been found to suggest an imminent attack at a sporting or music event.
He added that shopping centres and airports still needed to be monitored but because of the Paris attacks, smaller venues and clubs could be targeted.
About 135,000 people will descend on Glastonbury in Somerset from June 22 to 26, and an estimated 2.5 million people are due to follow the 24 football teams at Euro 2016 across France.
German spy chief Hans-Georg Maassen, pictured, admitted ISIS were planning to attack Euro 2016
French police, pictured last week at the French Cup Final, will launch an unprecedented security operation.
The news comes as a top German spy said ISIS is planning a terror attack on the Euro 2016 championship in France.
Hans-Georg Maassen, head of the German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution admitted that there had been ‘background noise’ but no evidence of a specific plot.
As well as the fans attending the 51 matches, there will be special ‘fan zones’ for those who could not get tickets for the stadiums.
Security experts fear any large gathering of people is a potential target for jihadis.
Last year, ISIS terrorists managed to kill 130 people during a string of co-ordinated attacks across Paris which targeted a football stadium, a concert hall, bars and cafes.
Crowded entertainment venues were said to be ‘right at the top of the agenda’ after the Paris attacks at the Bataclan theatre (pictured) killed 130 people last November.
The games, which start on June 10, will be held across 10 stadiums.
Maassen told the Rheinsche Post: ‘We know that ISIS has the European Championship in its sights.’
He admitted there was no firm intelligence of a specific threat, but there was ‘quite a lot of background noise, an elevated number of indications’ that ISIS, al Qaeda or the Syrian Nusra Front were plotting atrocities.
French officials have already admitted some games could be played behind closed doors depending on the threat level.
UEFA executive committee vice-president Giancarlo Abete: ‘Euro 2016 is the kind of event we can’t delay or postpone.
Last year, ISIS terrorists managed to kill 130 people during a string of co-ordinated attacks across Paris which targeted a football stadium, a concert hall, bars and cafes
‘We can’t exclude the possibility of playing behind closed doors as we cannot exclude terrorism.’
As well as the jihadi threat, France is trying to cope with violent labour protests and a fuel strike.
The tensions and fuel panic have added to concern about security for Euro 2016, already facing what Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve called the double menace of violent Islamic extremism and hooliganism.
Cazeneuve told reporters that the government respects the right to strike and does not see the labor movement as a ‘threat’.
He said it won’t disrupt protection of the June 10-July 10 championship, which will involve an unprecedented 90,000 police, soldiers, private guards and others ensuring security. That includes dozens of security officials from the other countries whose teams are competing.
90 people were killed at the Bataclan concert hall where American rock group Eagles of Death Metal (pictured) were performing on stage.
He said: ‘Public transport is working … (oil) supply points are unblocked, gas stations have stocks, so I invite all those who want to come to France to come and enjoy an important sports event.’
Cazenueve said border checks would be reinforced, noting that 18,000 people have been turned away from French borders since Islamic extremist attacks in November on the national stadium, cafes and a rock concert that killed 130 people.
The government would not give estimates for the overall cost of the security, though has said £18.2m are being spent on fan zones in the 10 host cities.
Jacques Lambert, president of the Euro 2016 organizing committee, said organizers are working to ensure that security measures at the event don’t overshadow the sport, saying authorities won’t be checking ‘every sandwich’