New Zealand hockey team heads for India despite terrorist warning

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

WELLINGTON - New Zealand field hockey officials said Wednesday that the national team would continue with plans to go to India for next week’s scheduled World Cup tournament despite a reported warning from a terrorist group linked to Al Qaeda.

News reports overnight said the Asia Times online newspaper had received a message Monday from guerrilla commander Ilyas Kashmiri, whose 313 Brigade is an operational arm of al-Qaeda, indicating the tournament and other scheduled sporting events in India this year would be targeted.

The message said, “We warn the international community not to send their people to the 2010 Hockey World Cup, IPL (Indian premier cricket league) and Commonwealth Games.

“Nor should their people visit India - if they do so they will be responsible for the consequences.”

The Commonwealth Games are scheduled to be held in India in October.

Hockey New Zealand chief executive Hilary Poole said a 25-man national squad is currently in Perth, Australia, preparing to leave for New Delhi on Monday.

She said officials had been discussing the threat with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was still planning to go to the tournament.

“At this stage we are comfortable, though we are obviously monitoring the situation very closely,” Poole said. “Any threat we take very seriously regardless of who it’s from.”

She said discussions were also being held with security advisers for the Australian, English and Canadian teams and advice was being sought from the international organizers of the event.

Filed under: Terrorism

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