Drones and thousands of police drafted in for Champions League games amid terror threat


Thousands of police have been drafted in for tonight’s Champions League games in Paris and Madrid amid the terror threat.

Several posters emerged on social media alleging to be from the Al-Azaim Foundation – a media arm of an IS affiliate group.

They called for attacks on the four Champions League quarter-final ties that are taking place this week.

In response, security has been “considerably reinforced” in Paris ahead of tonight’s game, as thousands of officers were drafted in to help with the security operation in Madrid across both nights.

Both European capitals host games today, with PSG playing Barcelona in Paris, and Atletico Madrid welcoming Borussia Dortmund in Madrid.

This comes after two games passed off without incident last night as Arsenal played Bayern Munich in London, and Manchester City took on Real Madrid in Madrid.

Thousands of extra officers have been drafted in to help run the security operation in Madrid. Pic: AP

A police officer in Madrid. Pic: Reuters

In Paris, the interior minister said the security had been heightened ahead of tonight’s game.

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Drones and specialist intervention police will be deployed during the game on the back of special security meetings that took place last night, 9 April, according to local media reports.

Security will remain reinforced in Paris throughout the night into Wednesday morning.

The Spanish capital is hosting two games this week. Pic: Reuters

Police escorting Real Madrid players to the stadium. Pic: AP

When asked yesterday, PSG coach Luis Enrique said: “I think everyone is concerned by terrorist threats. I hope it’s something we can control and I hope it’s just threats and nothing will happen.”

Across the border in Spain, over 2,000 national police and civil guard officers have been drafted in, in addition to local police, for the two games.

French security forces have activated early warning and protective systems as the anti-terror alert remains at four out of five.

But further “reinforcement orders” were added as well.

Police on horse back in Madrid last night. Pic: Reuters

Pic: PA

Gerald Darmanin, French Interior Minister, said: “We have seen, among others, a statement from the Islamic State, which is particularly targeting stadiums.

“This morning, we asked the general director of interior security to communicate the information we have with the other [security] services of the other countries hosting the quarter-finals.

“For the game that will take place in Paris, the prefect of police, with whom I spoke very early this morning, has considerably reinforced the security resources and the DGSI (general director of interior security) is particularly hard at work.”

Last night, Arsenal drew the first leg of their quarter-final against Bayern Munich 2-2 and City and Madrid shared the spoils in a 3-3 thriller.

Off the pitch, there was no noticeable change to security plans at either stadium ahead of kick-off, with Sky News sports correspondent Rob Harris reporting there was “nothing substantially different” in north London.

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Police presence outside the Emirates Stadium ahead of Arsenal’s match. Pic: PA

The Metropolitan Police’s deputy assistant commissioner, Ade Adelekan, said the force had a “robust policing plan” for Arsenal’s game.

In a statement, the Gunners said they were “working closely” with police to keep everyone safe and that their plans were “proportionate to the current UK threat level”.

Home Secretary James Cleverly said the government was “working closely with security and policing partners in response to despicable propaganda related to the Champions League, to ensure secure and enjoyable events for everyone”.

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UEFA said in a statement: “UEFA 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.

“All matches are planned to go ahead as scheduled with appropriate security arrangements in place.”

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