Police dismiss Islamist threats as fantasy
Police forces have labeled threats on Islamist websites "propaganda" ahead of the Euro 2008 football championships in Switzerland and AustriaBerne -- Internet sites urging al-Qaeda-style attacks targeting Euro 2008 in Switzerland and Austria were dismissed by police Thursday as nothing more than "propaganda" and "fantasies".
Federal Police Office spokesman Guido Balmer said according to their intelligence analysis there was no evidence of a "concrete plan."
He said the internet had become increasingly used as a "propaganda machine" generally putting out false information. "It is a public conversation and more like fantasies by people trying to impress."
"It is more or less a public area and simply would not make sense to plot an attack on the internet."
His comments came after the Swiss newspaper, Fribourg-based La Liberte, quoted a police source saying the threats on internet sites favoured by the terrorist group al-Qaeda, had increased in recent weeks.
One site was quoted as saying: "Let's transform the two most secure countries in Europe into hell, like the hell in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Balmer denied there had been increased activity in relation to references to Euro 2008. He said: "We know Euro 2008 is a potential terrorist target and Switzerland and Austria are part of the zone of danger like the rest of Europe but according to our information there is no concrete plan. The internet is more or less a propaganda machine used by groups or individuals to try to impress others."
According to Austria's interior ministry the threatening messages found on various internet sites were not new and most likely gained their "own dynamics" by being bandied around the internet.
Interior Ministry spokesman Rudolf Gollia said that there were "no current threats" against Euro 2008. Austria's authorities were in close contact with their Swiss and German counterparts and were keeping a close eye on the situation.
Euro 2008, jointly hosted by Switzerland and Austria, will be one of the world's biggest sporting events and kicks off in the Swiss city of Basel on June 7, ending June 29.