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France raises terror threat level for European Championship

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve: "Attacks are a reminder of the extremely high level of threat we face."

French soldiers patrol inside Charles de Gaulle International Airport.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has said Tuesday’s terror attacks in Brussels “are a tragic reminder of the high threat level we face.” With 80 days to go until the European Championship kicks off, France has extended its national state of emergency, put in place following the Paris attacks on November 13. France’s president, Francois Hollande, said on Tuesday: “The maximum priority is security.”

A few hours after the attacks on Brussels, France’s European Championship security committee convened. As well as Cazeneuve, Sports Minister Patrick Kanner, Euro 2016 organizing committee president Jacques Lambert and Alain Juppe, the mayor of Bordeaux, were in attendance. It was decided to further increase anti-terror measures up to June 10, the final day of the tournament.

The state of emergency currently in force allows for house searches and arrests without a warrant. These measures will remain in place during the championship, which is expected to attract almost three million fans. The host nation is going to deploy an unprecedented security force. There will be 900 private security guards, pertaining to Fifa and the organizing committee, at every match. In total, the private deployment will reach 10,000. French police and the army will be drafted in in greater numbers still, with anti-terror agents in place in key locations such as airports and railway stations.

Euro 2016 will be the first tournament to have a team of security experts to analyse every single match and identify potential risks. The biggest concern is the stadiums themselves. During November’s attacks in Paris, the Stade de France was targeted during a match between France and Germany.


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