Law 15:36 11/04/2024 World

France tightens security as Paris Olympics approach

Under clear blue skies, extra French police have been making a show of force around Paris today, on foot patrol at railway stations and near stadiums, seeking to reassure the public amid new warnings that the Islamic State group might be planning to attack European football events, BBC News reports.

The heightened security in the French capital marks a moment of growing concern across Europe, as governments seek to assess, and react to, threats made on a pro-IS media channel.

It also comes at a complicated moment for France itself, as it prepares to host the Olympic Games in July following growing concerns that the Kremlin is deliberately trying to spread doubts and fears about the French government's ability to keep its citizens safe.

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said he had "considerably strengthened security" around Wednesday night's Champions League quarter-final match at the Parc des Princes in southwest Paris.

The move follows an online threat to European sporting events that Mr Darmanin said had been "publicly expressed" by IS. The pro-IS media channel had reached out to supporters in France and elsewhere, who may feel emboldened after seeing the recent IS-claimed attack on a concert hall in Moscow.

But Mr Darmanin was keen to put the threat, and a raised national threat level, in context, stressing that the risk of an IS attack was "not new" and that "I don't have - and I say this quite frankly - any specific information. We don't know which location might be particularly affected, nor under what conditions".

He also pointed out that his forces, with long experience of tackling Islamist extremism, had foiled two attacks since the start of the year and arrested five individuals in three different cases in the past fortnight.

Two fans who had come from Toulouse ahead of the PSG-Barcelona match, were quick to brush aside the risks.

"We live constantly under the threat of terrorists and attacks so we have not stopped ourselves from living and coming to a superb match even after these threats," said Julien, 21.

"We must not be afraid," declared Alexandre. who's 27. "If they are doing this communication campaign, it is above all to scare us and terrorise us, so that the French no longer go out. So we must continue to live, and show them we are stronger than that."

But across Europe, with a long summer of sporting and cultural events ahead, governments are expressing growing concern about IS-K, as the jihadist group's Afghanistan-based wing is known.

Germany now calls it the country's biggest internal threat and is increasing security ahead of this summer's European Football Championship, including the rare step of introducing land border checks.



Source Panorama.am
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