Wembley ramps up security ahead of England’s Euro 2024 qualifier with Italy after two


Wembley has stepped up its security ahead of England’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Italy, after two Swedish supporters were shot dead in a suspected terror attack in Brussels on Monday night.

Belgium’s international match with Sweden was abandoned at half time and supporters were locked inside the King Baudouin Stadium for their own safety, with Swedish fans unable to leave until 4am.

The suspected gunman, who claimed to be a member of ISIS, shot two Swedish nationals dead before the match and seriously injured a third. 

Belgian authorities revealed early on Tuesday morning that the alleged perpetrator has now died, having been shot by armed officers and subsequently taken to hospital.

As a result, additional officers have been drafted in ahead of England’s match with Italy, with the Metropolitan police urging in a statement on Tuesday that fans will be ‘reassured’ by a ‘highly visible’ security presence during the game.

Wembley has stepped up its security ahead of England's Euro 2024 qualifier against Italy

Wembley has stepped up its security ahead of England’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Italy

Terrified Belgian and Swedish supporters were locked inside the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels on Monday after two fans were shot dead. The match was abandoned at half-time

Terrified Belgian and Swedish supporters were locked inside the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels on Monday after two fans were shot dead. The match was abandoned at half-time

Additional security was put in place at Wembley in response to the terrifying attack on Monday

While trapped inside the King Baudouin Stadium on Monday evening, Belgian supporters started singing 'All Together, All Together' in a show of solidarity with Swedish fans

While trapped inside the King Baudouin Stadium on Monday evening, Belgian supporters started singing ‘All Together, All Together’ in a show of solidarity with Swedish fans

Their statement read: ‘There is a robust policing plan in place for the Euro 2024 qualifier between England and Italy at Wembley this evening, building on our shared experience with trusted partners in policing these high profile matches, and to ensure those attending the match can enjoy the sporting occasion. 

Given the events yesterday in Brussels, those attending the match can be reassured that they will see a highly visible policing presence. Officers are there to ensure the event passes off safely and provide reassurance to those attending.’

Together with all of Tuesday’s Euro 2024 qualifiers, England and Italy will partake in a moment of silence ahead of the match in memory of the two victims and their families.

Superintendent Gerry Parker, who is the match commander for Tuesday’s Euro 2024 qualifier, added: ‘We have been working with our partners, including the FA, in the weeks leading up to this match to ensure those attending the Wembley area enjoy this match.

‘Our officers are experienced in dealing with large-scale public order events, and a flexible plan is in place to reduce the likelihood of crime and disorder, and provide a timely response to any emerging incidents.’

The suspected gunman alleged in an online video that he had carried out a ‘revenge attack’, speaking in Arabic, and claimed to have a connection to Islamic State.

In the video, he boasted that he had killed ‘infidels’ while earlier in the day he had posted on Facebook referring to the stabbing in the US of a Palestinian boy, by his mother’s landlord.

The Metropolitan police says that fans will be 'reassured' by the heightened security presence

The Metropolitan police says that fans will be ‘reassured’ by the heightened security presence

The shooting took place in  Boulevard d'Ypres - approximately three miles from the stadium

The shooting took place in  Boulevard d’Ypres – approximately three miles from the stadium

Superintendent Gerry Parker (not pictured) urged that there is a 'flexible' security plan in place

Superintendent Gerry Parker (not pictured) urged that there is a ‘flexible’ security plan in place

Belgian Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne told the news conference the suspect was a 45-year-old Tunisian man who sought asylum in Belgium in November 2019 and was known to police over people smuggling and illegal residence in Belgium. 

Amid distressing scenes, UEFA released a statement confirming the cancellation, which happened at half-time after Romelu Lukaku cancelled out Viktor Gyokeres’ opener for Sweden.

It read: ‘Following a suspected terrorist attack in Brussels this evening, it has been decided, after consultation with the two teams and the local police authorities, that the UEFA EURO 2024 qualifying match between Belgium and Sweden is abandoned. Further communication will be made in due course.’ 

The killings occurred three miles away from the stadium, where over 35,000 fans attended to watch the Euro 2024 qualifier.

Following the brutal attack, the city’s terror alert was raised to a level 4 – its highest.

As the terrified spectators waited inside the stadium to hear news from outside, Belgian fans began chanting ‘All together, all together’ to express their solidarity with the Swedish supporters. 

Sweden head coach Janne Andersson revealed to reporters how he and his team were determined not to play on out of respect for the victims.

‘When I came down for the break, I got this information,’ he said. ‘Immediately, I felt that it was completely unreal. What kind of world do we live in today?

Manchester United and Sweden star Victor Lindelof praised the stadium's security team

Manchester United and Sweden star Victor Lindelof praised the stadium’s security team 

Romelu Lukaku put Belgium on level terms at 1-1 before the match was abandoned at half-time

Romelu Lukaku put Belgium on level terms at 1-1 before the match was abandoned at half-time

Gareth Southgate and his England side will partake in a moment's silence before the qualifier

Gareth Southgate and his England side will partake in a moment’s silence before the qualifier

‘I came into the locker room and when the team started talking we agreed 100 per cent that we didn’t want to play on out of respect for the victims and their families.’

Meanwhile, Manchester United and Sweden star Victor Lindelof urged that there was no reason to reschedule the fixture following the traumatic experience in Brussels.

‘Belgium are already qualified and we don’t have the opportunity to get to the European Championship, so I see no reason to play,’ Lindelof said.

He went on to praise the stadium’s response to the attack, adding: ‘Our security team handled it well and put us at ease. They explained that this is the safest place to be in Brussels.

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