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Security ring round Athens for Euro final

Authorities on full alert to prevent violence, amid terror threats against sports events in EU

by Tunae
Security ring round Athens for Euro final

In response to public calls and threats by members of the Islamic State to carry out terrorist attacks during sporting events in the EU, Greece’s security and intelligence services are on full alert for Wednesday night’s 2024 UEFA Europa Conference League final between Olympiakos and Italy’s Fiorentina at the AEK Arena in Nea Filadelfia in western Athens.

The anti-terrorism and intelligence services have already been activating their intelligence-gathering networks for weeks, aiming to prevent any plan for a bloody attack either by an individual or a small “strike” group. However, during the closed meetings held at the Ministry of Citizen Protection, officials of the two services reportedly clarified that they have not been informed (including by foreign agencies) of any alarming information about the movements of suspects. Members of the Anti-Terrorism and the National Security Service, along with technical means, will be present on Wednesday, not only inside the stadium where the match will be hosted but also in areas in the capital where fans of the two teams are expected to gather, such as Thiseio and Monastiraki. Αmong other things, anti-drones devices (jammers) will be deployed in places identified as high-risk, while on Tuesday the Hellenic Police (ELAS) issued a NOTAM prohibiting helicopter and drone flights in the Attica basin for security reasons.

Officers of the sub-directorate of the Anti-Sports Violence Division are also on red alert and are in cooperation with their Italian colleagues who have been based in Athens for the last few days, focusing, among others, on how to manage the movement of the 500-600 high-risk Fiorentina fans who have purchased tickets. In total, however, around 4,000 Italian Fiorentina supporters, including 500-600 hardcore supporters, are expected to travel to Athens on Wednesday on charter flights.

Authorities have identified areas as “points of interest” where fans will gather either before moving to the stadium or to places to watch the match. As far as Olympiakos fans are concerned, these locations are Zea Marina, Korai Square, the Peace and Friendship Stadium and Kaminia in Piraeus. As far as Fiorentina fans are concerned, these places are in the center of Athens, where the hotels where they will be staying are located, OAKA, where they will gather before heading to AEK arena by bus, the airport and areas along the electric railway network, such as Pefkakia, Perissos and Alsos Nea Filadelfias.

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