A Pro-ISIS Group Is Threatening To Behead Lionel Messi At Russia World Cup 2018

It's not the first time Messi's been a target of ISIS propagandists.

Cover image via The Sun

On 15 March, an execution-style poster featuring FC Barcelona and Argentina star Lional Messi on his knees in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium surfaced on Twitter

The doctored poster shows Messi wearing an orange jumpsuit, often seen worn by victims in the terrorists' execution videos.

The background of the poster, set in Luzhniki Stadium, was reported by The Sun to be the venue for the 2018 Russia World Cup final.

According to Daily Mail, the poster was published by Wafa' Media Foundation (WMF), a pro-ISIS group.

The World Cup trophy and the number '8' of the official logo was damaged in the poster, while sticks of dynamite can also be seen resting up against the halfway-line flag

The 'broken' trophy and the number '8' damaged.

Image via DonKlericuzio/Twitter

Dynamites resting at the halfway-line flag.

Image via DonKlericuzio/Twitter

The Arabic quote featured in the poster was taken from Surah Al-Anfal, the eighth chapter of the Quran

The quote used in the poster was only a part of the 12th verse in the chapter.

"[Remember] when your Lord inspired to the angels, "I am with you, so strengthen those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieved, so strike [them] upon the necks and strike from them every fingertip."

An ISIS fighter is seen grabbing Messi's head right below the partially quoted verse of Surah Al-Anfal in the poster.

This poster is the latest addition to a string of ISIS threats over the Russia World Cup 2018, which feature misused photos of other football stars as well

According to Standard Media, a picture of Messi was published by WMF as well in September 2017, showing him "behind bars, looking frail, tortured, and blood gushing from his left eye". The photos were made public by SITE, a website which monitors terror activity. 

Image via Express

Another WMF poster depicted Messi alongside Paris Saint-Germain FC and Brazil national team forward Neymar Jr., who was seen crying while being held by an ISIS fighter, and Messi lying motionless on the ground.

Express reported that these posters were released in the same chilling collection by WMF last year.

Image via Express

Real Madrid CF and Portugal national team forward Cristiano Ronaldo was also shown bloodied and bruised in a WMF poster.

Image via Express

According to The Sun, the Russian government has ordered factories using radioactive or explosive materials to close during the World Cup as a preventive measure against terror threats

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) has allegedly sent a letter to a large chemical company near the host city of Nizhny Novgorod, demanding a halt to "dangerous production and organisations which use sources of ionising emissions, dangerous chemical and biological substances, radioactive, toxic and explosive materials".

Daily Mail also reported that thousands of Russians have travelled to fight for ISIS. Experts believe around 2,400 Russians joined the terrorist group in 2015 alone.

In February, however, a FIFA spokesman reassured the public regarding the security measures in place for the World Cup

9News reported that FIFA was confident about the security of the event.

"As far as security for the 2018 FIFA World Cup is concerned, FIFA has complete trust in the security arrangements and comprehensive security concept developed by the Russian authorities and the Local Organising Committee," a FIFA spokesman was quoted as saying by 9News.

What do you think about the the terror threats affecting Russia World Cup 2018? Let us know in the comments below.

Apart from Russia, Malaysia was previously warned of a possible ISIS threat as well:

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