Heightened Security Measures in New York for India-Pakistan T20 World Cup Match Amid ISIS Threat

Feature and Cover Heightened Security Measures in New York for India Pakistan T20 World Cup Match Amid ISIS Threat

The Islamic State terrorist organization has issued a menacing threat against the T20 World Cup match between India and Pakistan, scheduled to be held in New York next month. In response, New York officials have announced heightened security measures.

Governor Kathy Hochul stated that she has “directed the New York State Police to engage in elevated security measures, including an increased law enforcement presence, advanced surveillance, and thorough screening processes.”

Bruce Blakeman, Nassau County’s head, where the match will take place, said, “We make sure that we are on top of every situation that could potentially arise. Now to that end, we have taken many many precautions.” He emphasized, “We take every threat seriously. There are the same procedures for every threat. We don’t minimise threats. We track down all of our leads.”

The Islamic State, commonly known as IS, posted an image of the cricket stadium at Eisenhower Park in Nassau County with drones flying over it, showing the date “9/06/2024,” the scheduled date of the India-Pakistan match. This post was made on a British chat site and a screenshot of it was broadcast by NBC New York TV. The channel reported that county leaders have requested the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to designate Eisenhower Park a no-fly zone for drones.

Despite this post, New York officials have downplayed it as not a “credible threat,” while still emphasizing that they are closely monitoring the situation and enhancing security measures to be prepared for any eventuality. Governor Hochul said, “While there is no credible public safety threat at this time, we continue to monitor the situation closely.”

She added, “My Administration has been working for months with federal law enforcement and Nassau County to ensure New Yorkers and visitors are safe.” Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder echoed this sentiment, stating that although “to date, there are no credible threats,” his department “continues to monitor the situation and we are proactively deploying resources to maintain safety as you continue your day-to-day activities.”

Even without an organized attack by ISIS, there remains the concern of lone wolf attacks, where individual members or sympathizers may act independently.

The World Cup Cricket stadium, with a capacity of 30,000, was specially constructed for the tournament. It will host matches along with an arena in Dallas. The tournament will begin on June 1 with an exhibition match between India and Bangladesh, followed by regular matches starting on June 3, featuring India against Sri Lanka, and running until June 12, concluding with an India vs US match.

NBC New York reported that the security preparations for the World Cup event are the largest ever undertaken by Nassau County, treating the event with the same importance as presidential debates. Part of these precautions involves local hospitals being prepared in case of emergencies.

The British newspaper Express first reported the threat, which also extended to sporting events in Europe. The Express stated that ISIS “followers are encouraged to target major events” including the Cricket World Cup. The newspaper detailed discussions in the chat group about using drones laden with explosives to attack civilians at major sporting events across Europe.

The Express also reported that chat room members, who shared threats against the stadium, listed their terror skills, such as firing AK47 rifles, and discussed sums of money in pound Sterling, suggesting that some of these members might be based in Britain.

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