EURO 2016: Security boss warns matches are ideal targets for ISIS attacks
EURO 2016 football matches are likely to be ideal targets for an attack by Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists, according French security officials.
Paris : French internal intelligence chief Patrick Calvar has admitted his country faces the “greatest threat” from Islamist attacks, just weeks ahead of the planned games.
Mr Calvar told French National Assembly deputies the country should be prepared for attacks from ISIS jihadis, as it remains one of their greatest targets.
His comments were made in a May 10 meeting, the minutes of which were released on Wednesday night.
He said: “Clearly, France is the most threatened and we know that Islamic State is planning new attacks.
“Due to suffering setbacks on the battlefield [in Iraq and Syria] ISIS will want to create a diversion and avenge coalition air strikes.
“They will try to hit as soon as possible, and achieve the greatest possible impact.”
Football games will be ideal targets for depraved IS terrorists, officials have claimed
Mr Calvar, who has led France’s internal intelligence agency DGSI for the past four years, said a gathering of large crowds, such as the Euros, is exactly the kind of target ISIS is after.
He said: “This will be a new form of attack, characterized by placing explosive devices in places where there are large crowds and repeating this type of action to create a climate of maximum panic.”
The security official believes a successful attack would work as a recruitment tool for the terror organisation, the prime target for the French.
The 60-year-old said that about 645 French citizens are thought to be involved in ISIS’s campaign to establish a caliphate in the Middle East, though about a third intend to return to home, where they could present a security risk.
Mr Calvar and other security personnel were left stunned by the massacre carried out on the streets of Paris in November 2015.
The long-serving official admitted it is still unclear to them how the suicide bombers who took 130 lives managed to cross through Europe armed with such a large cache of weapons.
Although he said it was known the attack was planned in Syria.
During the Paris terror attacks a bomb was planned to go off at a football match at the Stade de France, which will host a series of key matches during the upcoming European Championships.
The jihadi who had the explosive was not allowed into the stadium and instead detonated outside – killing himself and a bystander.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has vowed that France “would not drop its guard” during the month-long Euro 2016 tournament, which is expected to attract millions of tourists from around the world.
While Germany’s FBI equivalent, the Federal Criminal Police Office, has produced an internal report stating that ISIS is looking to hit “symbolic” and “softer”targets and specifically pointing out the risks connected with Euro 2016.
Source : EXPRESS