Jihadists May Attack European Football Championships, Swiss Police Report

By Matthew Harwood

Chatter on jihadist Web sites indicates that radical Islamist terrorists are planning to attack Europe's football championships in Austria and Switzerland this June, Swiss police say.

The Union of European Football Associations will begin the football championship games, known as Euro 2008, on June 7. Authorities fear global media attention on the championship matches has made it an attractive target for terrorists.

According to London's Daily Telegraph:

La Liberte [a Swiss newspaper] said appeals for attacks had grown on websites known to be used by al-Qa’eda followers and other militant groups.

It acknowledged that Switzerland is widely accused of Islamophobia in the Muslim world, notably because of opposition to the construction of mosque minarets in several Swiss cities.

Austria could be a target because of the presence of its troops in the international force in Afghanistan.

One of the threatening messages discovered online, SkyNews reports, called for jihadists to "transform the safest countries in Europe to the hell seen in Iraq or Afghanistan." But, as the Telegraph noted, most counterterrorism experts say that while online jihadist Web sites and forums should be monitored closely, most messages contained there are bluster.

In anticipation of the event, La Liberté reported that security will be tightened around the stadium and ticket buyers from the Middle East will be screened more extensively, according to SkyNews.


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