“Islamic State” calls for attacks on European Championship


Lerato Khumalo

An IS terrorist cell is calling for attacks against the European Championships in Germany. The Spanish police have now apparently broken up the group.

After a joint operation with the Guardia Civil intelligence service, Europol and the FBI, the Spanish police have broken up a cell of the terrorist militia “Islamic State” (IS). According to the Spanish newspaper “El Confidencial”, a total of nine people were arrested in Salt (Girona), Algeciras (Cádiz), Anta (Almería) and Tenerife. They were presumably part of the “I’lam Foundation”, which describes itself as the multilingual media center of the Islamic State.

Two of those arrested have been remanded in custody. The investigation by the Central Instruction Court No. 1 of the Audiencia Nacional, which deals with the most serious crimes such as terrorism and organized crime, is ongoing. It is supported by authorities in Germany, France, Estonia, Romania, Iceland and the Netherlands.

According to “El Confidencial”, there were several propaganda posters calling for attacks on the Real Madrid team bus and the stadium. The posters show a masked man opening fire on the team bus with a rifle. Another poster shows the Real stadium with the message: “A very valuable target is waiting for you.” Another poster reads: “My dear brother. Wait in a place near where the players arrive. Aim at them and their fans.”

Last week, English-language drafts also called for attacks at the European Championships in Germany and the Olympic Games in Paris. These posters show a soldier from behind holding a rifle. Above them is the message: “Where are you going?”. The poster then lists three possible targets: Berlin, Munich and Dortmund – all venues for the European Championship. Below it says cynically: “Score the last goal”.

Dozens of servers belonging to the “I’lam Foundation” and subordinate institutions were shut down to prevent the spread of IS propaganda on the Internet. The investigation began in 2022, when the Guardia Civil was following up on an earlier propaganda operation. A week before these arrests, German police had arrested a suspected IS terrorist who tried to sneak into a European Championship stadium as a security guard.

Supporters of the terrorist group “Islamic State” (IS) also issued threats against the stadiums hosting the Champions League quarter-finals at the beginning of April. Western intelligence services revealed that at least twelve terrorist attacks in Europe had been prevented in the past twelve months. Security expert Will Geddes told the newspaper “The Sun” that special units, secret services and police are being deployed more intensively to ward off possible attacks.