- Arsenal News
- News Archive
- League Table
- Premier League News
England World Cup match targeted by terrorist group linked to al-Qa'eda
Published : 10 Apr 2010 15:05:33
England's opening World Cup match against the USA is being targeted by a terror group linked to al-Qa'eda. An immediate review of security was ordered last night for the showpiece game in South Africa after an Algerian-based group posted an online threat to bring 'deaths' in an explosion on the day of the game. Thousands of British and American fans are expected to descend on the town of Rustenberg - 40 miles north of Johannesburg on June 12 - for the Group C game. Terror: A group have threatened to attack the Royal Bafokeng Stadium during the match between England and USA The fear of a terror attack is one of the biggest concerns of tournament organisers with USA and Britain at the top of the target list because of their leading role in the War on Terror. The threats were made on a jihadist online magazine of the North Africa terror group 'al-Qa'eda in the Islamic Maghreb', a militant organisation based in Algeria. The group said it planned to use a form of 'undetectable' explosive that will be able to evade security checkpoints. The article refers to an 'explosion causing hundreds of deaths'. This incident put World Cup organisers on a heightened state of alert for the forthcoming tournament and now there will be further concerns about security at the 45,000 capacity stadium hosting the game. The terror threat prompted a response from FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke. He said: 'It does not mean that because we receive a threat, the World Cup should not be allowed to be contested in South Africa or any other country 'We have freedom in the world to celebrate what we want. As the management of the organisation that governs world football, we know there is a threat. We will not stop the organisation of the World Cup because we got the threat.' The Football Association would not comment but insiders said that both the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Home Office and Foreign Office were aware of the threat. More than 2.2 million tickets have already been sold for the month-long tournament and South African police have insisted their World Cup security plans are adequate despite the threats made ahead of England's match against the USA. Hurdles to get over: England's match with USA will have a high security presence British anti-terror expert Professor Paul Wilkinson of St Andrews University said yesterday that the threat should be taken seriously. He said: 'It is genuine and very similar to many other al-Qa'eda websites That doesn't mean what is stated on such websites is to be believed. 'On the other hand, the message may have the effect of mobilising an individual or group to carry out an attack and it is essential for the authorities to increase security. ' The threat comes at a time of growing concern over the expansion of al-Qa'eda in Africa. While Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria have all supplied fighters to Jihadist groups - a hard-core of terrorist are now being trained in Somalia. Earlier this year the Togo team was ambushed as it travelled to the African Cup of Nations tournament in Angola - killing three and injuring a number of others. A group called the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda - which has no known links to al-Qa'eda - later claimed responsibility for the attack. Last night South African police chief Vishnu Naidoo questioned the credibility of the threat, but added: 'Interpol will be based in South Africa during the duration of the tournament. 'They have also established a database of all persons involved in organised crime, from hooliganism to terrorism. 'No one from that database will be allowed here. We also have our own intelligence community here, the police, army, secret service, working on a daily basis, monitoring potential threats. 'Our police officers are being trained by the American police to combat chemical, biological and nuclear attacks.' Terror experts said it was unusual for al-Qa'eda and linked organisations to give advance warning of their precise target, tactics and plans. Professor Paul Wilkinson added: 'It is unusual, to say the least, for al-Qa'eda and affiliate organisations to give advance notice of their precise target and the tactic they will use. 'However, the authorities can't afford to ignore it, because people reading this message will include militants who might think this is something they want to do. 'The deliberate pinpointing of this match highlights the hatred al-Qa'eda has for our country and the United States.'