The threats that deterred pop icon Madonna from playing three Israeli concerts did not come from Palestinian Arab groups but more likely from local Islamist organizations in the United Kingdom where she lives most of the year, according to a high-ranking Israeli official.
A source close to Madonna confirmed to WND the pop singer canceled three Israeli stops on her recently launched Re-Invention tour after an unidentified terror group threatened her and her children, Lourdes, 7, and Rocco, 3.
The source close to the singer confirmed to WND on condition of anonymity a series of written threats were received and they included “specific information on the movements of her, her children and the people around her.”
“The threats were very detailed and sent in the name of a Palestinian terror group,” the source said.
The source would not disclose which group was named, but said “the people who sent the threats have intelligence capabilities in the London area. [Madonna’s] people are taking them very seriously.
“She was so excited about going to Israel, and she still would have, but it was the mentioning of her kids that has her frightened. And again, I mean they had a lot of real information.”
But a high-ranking Israeli security official told WND that while he has information on the threats, he is suspicious that they actually came from any Palestinian terror group.
“These threats would be out of character for Hamas and Islamic Jihad. And why [Madonna], not the many, many other artists who have performed in Israel the past few years?”
While Hamas and Islamic Jihad have threatened violence at cultural activities, these threats usually are directed against Israeli sports teams and artists, including a recent Israeli soccer tournament.
Many popular rock bands, such as Radiohead and Red Hot Chili Peppers, have toured Israel without being threatened, and a variety artists and groups are scheduled to tour the Jewish state this summer, including just this week the popular Russian punk band Korol i Shut and 80’s pop star Marc Almond.
The security official speculated the threats likely came from an independent group in London, where Madonna currently resides.
“Maybe a local group is offended by her,” the official said.
UK authorities long have struggled with a rising tide of Islamic extremism. Groups such as London based Al-Muhajiroun, suspected of ties with al-Qaida, operate openly and are allowed to hold rallies with tens of thousands of Muslims who promote suicide bombings and preach anti-Western ideology.
Madonna, who practices Kabbalah, a form of Jewish mysticism, includes provocative images in her tour, such as video footage of a Palestinian boy and an Israeli boy walking arm-in-arm, and simulated sex gestures during a tango with a female dancer.
Her 18-city tour ends Sept. 5 in Paris with stops in Las Vegas, New York, Toronto, Manchester and London.