(WFI) France has a huge security operation around the Euro 2016 championship.
Authorities and special forces were conducting security drills in the 10 host cities two days out from the month-long tournament’s opening match. Some 100,000 police, security officials and army troops are being deployed for the 24-team UEFA extravaganza.
A tight security cordon is in place around all the 10 stadiums and fan zones. At the Eiffel Tower zone, which can accommodate 90,000 fans, officials will search bags and check visitors with metal detectors at the entrances.
France is on high alert in the aftermath of the November terror attacks which killed 130 people. A state of emergency is remains in force.
Euro 2016 organising committee president Jacques Lambert told press conference that they were “not aware of any precise, concrete threat targeting a game or a stadium”.
“Nobody can ignore what has happened in France and Europe in terms of security over the last few months and we have taken it fully into account”, he added.
Britain’s Foreign Office issued a warning on Tuesday to supporters of England, Wales and Northern Ireland travelling to France that there is a “high threat from terrorism” during the competition.
“During Euro 2016, stadiums, fan zones, venues broadcasting the tournament and transport hubs and links represent potential targets for terrorist attacks,” it said in a statement.
Rail strikes and flooding in the French capital are other major headaches for organizers as they prepare for Euro 2016 kick off.
Security, however, remains the top priority for the French government who have committed extra resources to ensure the safety of fans , officials and players.
The arrest of a Frenchman with an arsenal of weapons in Ukraine who was said to be plotting a series of attacks before and during Euro 2016 has sparked fresh security fears.
While French authorities and the UK’s Foreign Office are calling for fans to remain vigilant at all times, the head of the German FA (DFB) Reinhard Grindel is among those downplaying the threat.
Speaking to reporters at Germany’s training base in Evian-les-Bains, he said German authorities and the DFB were working closely with French officials. According to the Associated Press, the DFB is investigating around $900,000 in security. “We have taken a raft of security measures in consultation with the German and French security forces,” he was quoted as saying.
“Up to this morning German security officials have no concrete evidence of a threat against Euro 2016,” he added.
In a bid to reassure fans, French Interior Ministry launched an app on Wednesday which will alert users to any attacks or suspicion of a terrorist strike near to where they are located or individual districts in Paris.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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