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SOURCE: IANS

ISIS-K has called for a “Lone Wolf” attack on the India-Pakistan World Cup Cricket match here next month, a top police official has warned while putting security on high alert.

In a video that has gone global, the terror group is “calling for that ‘Lone Wolf’ to act out”, said Patrick Ryder, the Police Commissioner of Nassau County where the match is scheduled for June 6. “Lone Wolves” are members or sympathisers of terrorist organisations who take cues from the organisations and operate independently by themselves making it more difficult to track them down.

On Wednesday, New York Governor Kathy Hochul said 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, the head of Nassau County bordering New York City, said at a news conference, “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.”

Additional police officers will be mobilised at the cricket stadium at Eisenhower Park, Ryder said at the news conference.

“We will go to every fine detail when it comes to the security and safety of the residents here,” he added.

Earlier there had been some ambiguity about the level of the threat posted in a chat group by ISIS-Khorasan, the offshoot of the Islamic State terrorist organisation operating in South and Central Asia.

Before the news conference by Nassau officials, Hochul had said that “there is no credible public safety threat at this time,” but added, “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,” she said.

Blakeman said at the news conference, “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.”

Ryder said, “When you have a game and a crowd as big as this, everything is credible.”

He said they had received threats starting in April “where it was a global and international style threat from what’s called ISIS-K”.

“Then it got a little bit more specific towards the actual game of India versus Pakistan but did not name the place,” he said.

“And then yesterday, you all saw the video that went global, and they are calling for that ‘Lone Wolf’ to act out.”

He was referring to a video with “an image of the cricket stadium at Eisenhower Park in Nassau County with drones flying over it showing the date, “9/6/2024”, when the India-Pakistan match, that was posted by ISIS-K on a British chat site.

With the display of drones as attack vehicles, NBC New York TV reported that county officials “say they’ve requested the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) to make Eisenhower Park a no-fly zone for drones”.

ISIS-K has carried out attacks in Pakistan and has threatened terror strikes on India.

In March, ISIS-K terrorists attacked a concert hall in Moscow killing about 130 people adding gravity to the latest threat.

The World Cup Cricket stadium, which has a 30,000-capacity, was built specially for the tournament and will share the fixtures in the US with the arena in Dallas.

It will kick off on June 1 with an exhibition match between India and Bangladesh and will be followed by regular tournament matches starting on June 3, pitching India against Sri Lanka, and running till June 12 with an India vs US match.

NBC New York TV said that the security preparations for the World Cup event were the largest that Nassau County has undertaken and it is being treated on par with presidential debates.

As part of the safety precautions, it said, “Local hospitals also involved just in case they’re needed.”

The British newspaper Express first reported on the threat, which it said was also directed against sporting venues in Europe, including the Wembley Stadium.

It said that ISIS “followers are encouraged to target major events” including the Cricket World Cup.

“There were also extensive discussions on the forum as to how the terror group should use drones laden with explosives to murder civilians at major sporting events across Europe,” the Express said of the postings on a chat group posted on the British website Matrix.

The Express said, “Chat room members who shared the stadium threats listed their terror skills, including firing AK-47 rifles, and discussed sums of money in pound Sterling, suggesting some might be based in Britain.”