Homeland Security Network Blog
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Jihadis make Europe's most popular sport a prime target
What surprised the lawyer called to check on the welfare of a young British Muslim returned from Syria was not his experiences of a bloody war zone, but the fact that he was still so keen to discuss England's fortunes on the pitch
The bomb attack against the German football club Borussia Dortmund is a grim reminder that football has become a high-profile target among Islamist terrorists. By attacking Europe's most popular sport, terror groups know they can cause the greatest fear while guaranteeing maximum media attention.
In the last 50 years, football has become a central part of Germany's national identity and the team's fortunes are closely followed by millions of fans. It is a fact that has not escaped the attention of thousands of foreign fighters who have flocked to Syria to join Isis, many of whom were football fans in Europe themselves. Now Isis terror planners have factored this into their terror operations.
The first of three bomb blasts that began the terror attacks in Paris in November 2015, which ended with a death toll of 130, was detonated outside the Stade de France stadium where France were playing Germany in an international football friendly. It was only the stadium's tight security that prevented the suicide bomber causing even more casualties.