Anticipation Builds for India-Pakistan T20 World Cup Match Amid ISIS Threat
Anticipation Builds for India-Pakistan T20 World Cup Match Amid ISIS Threat

New Delhi: Every International Cricket Council (ICC) tournament eagerly anticipates the India vs. Pakistan match, and the T20 World Cup 2024 is no exception. On June 9th, the arch-rivals will clash at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York. However, security has been heightened following a threat from ISIS-K, warning of a potential “Lone Wolf” attack during the game.

A "Lone Wolf" attack refers to an act of mass violence executed by an individual without external assistance. In light of this threat, security agencies are intensifying their measures around the stadium. Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder and Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman announced the deployment of 100 additional security guards alongside the regular crew. Governor Kathy Hochul stated on May 29th that the New York State Police would implement elevated security measures, including an increased law enforcement presence, advanced surveillance, and thorough screening processes.

Governor Hochul assured the public, "There is no credible public safety threat at this time. We continue to monitor the situation closely. My administration has been working for months with federal law enforcement and Nassau County to ensure New Yorkers and visitors are safe."

At a press conference, Patrick Ryder confirmed the deployment of additional police at the Eisenhower Park cricket stadium. He emphasized the thoroughness of the security measures, saying, “We will go to every fine detail when it comes to the security and safety of the residents here.” While the threat's specifics remain unclear, it originated from a chat group linked to ISIS-Khorasan, an affiliate of the Islamic State operating in South and Central Asia. Bruce Blakeman highlighted the numerous precautions taken to address potential threats, ensuring the safety of the stadium, surrounding areas, and parking lots. He mentioned the addition of 100 extra police officers county-wide as a precaution.

Patrick Ryder reassured the public of the robust security plans in place, acknowledging the potential threat from a "Lone Wolf" attack. He stated, "When you’ve got a game and a crowd as big as this, everything is credible. We will go through every fine detail when it comes to the security and safety of the residents here in Nassau County. I can guarantee you this is the largest security we’ve ever had to do in this county’s history, and I can also guarantee you the safest place to be in Nassau County on June 9 will be inside that stadium."

Ryder explained that ISIS-K had been issuing threats since April, initially broad but later more specific to the India-Pakistan game, though without naming the venue. A recent video posted by ISIS-K on a British chat site showed an image of the cricket stadium at Eisenhower Park with drones flying over it and the date "9/6/2024." In response, county officials requested the FAA to designate Eisenhower Park a no-fly zone for drones.

The ICC emphasized the comprehensive security measures in place, stating, "The safety and security of everyone at the event is our number one priority and we have a comprehensive and robust security plan in place. We work closely with authorities in our host countries and continually monitor and evaluate the global landscape to ensure appropriate plans are in place to mitigate any risks identified to our event."

The threat was first reported by the British publication Express, which also noted that other sports venues, including Wembley Stadium, were targets. The report suggested ISIS supporters might use drone attacks to target major events like the Cricket World Cup.

The 30,000-seat World Cup Cricket venue was specifically built for the championship and will share hosting duties with a stadium in Dallas. The highly anticipated tournament will commence on June 1st with a warm-up match between India and Bangladesh.

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