Security tightened in Madrid for Champions League matches after jihadist threats

The attack alert level in Spain is currently at 4 on a maximum scale of 5 
Agentes antidisturbios permanecen en el interior del estadio antes de un partido de la Liga de Campeones – PHOTO/AFP/FRANCK FIFE 
Riot officers remain inside the stadium before a Champions League match – PHOTO/AFP/FRANCK FIFE

Spanish authorities announced on Tuesday that they had stepped up their security arrangements for the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final to be played in Madrid, due to threats issued by the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group. 

This reinforcement will affect the match between Real Madrid and Manchester City, scheduled for Tuesday at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, as well as the match between Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday at the Metropolitano stadium. 

"We are going to carry out an extraordinary security deployment, in accordance with the level of alert determined by the intelligence services of the State Security Forces and Corps," the government delegate in Madrid, Francisco Martín Aguirre, said in a video message.

This will entail "an additional reinforcement of the measures that had already been announced", with "an increase" in the number of troops deployed in the Spanish capital, he added, without specifying the extent of the increase. 

The Spanish government spokeswoman, Pilar Alegría, said on Tuesday that an operation "with more than 2,000 agents" will be deployed "to guarantee total security". The plan initially announced on Monday by the government delegation was for almost 1,900 agents. 

In her weekly appearance after the Council of Ministers, Alegría wanted to send a message of "calm" and "confidence" to the public, following IS threats against the stadiums where the quarter-finals will be played. 

In addition to the two matches in Madrid, another will be played in London on Tuesday night between Arsenal and Bayern Munich, while FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain will meet in Paris on Wednesday. 

The attack alert level in Spain is currently 4 on a maximum scale of 5. In this context, all alert and protection systems are activated and the security forces are ready to intervene, according to the Ministry of the Interior.