Dozens of people in charge of keeping the Euro 2016 soccer tournament safe from terror are themselves on a terror watch list.
France is bracing itself for possible terror attacks during the Euros, which start Friday and run through July 10. Authorities are launching unprecedented security measures for a sporting event of any kind — including 90,000 police and military personnel deployed on the streets and 3,500 security guards at the stadiums — with two recent terror attacks in Paris fresh in their minds.
French news outlet Le Point revealed Sunday that at least 82 of the 3,500 security guards are on a terror watch list. Their primary jobs are to ensure the safety of 2.5 million fans attending the matches. The news is worrying for organizers as the Stade de France stadium, which will host the final, because it was one of the venues attacked by terrorists Nov. 13. (RELATED: HALF Of France’s Military Patrols The Streets To Prevent Another Terror Attack)
Europol director Rob Wainwright said the terror risk isn’t necessarily high given the massive security operation.
“I have no doubt the Euros are on a potential target list for [Islamic State], for obvious reasons,” Wainwright told the Press Association in a recent interview. “That’s a pretty obvious assumption. The threat is high, I think.”
The U.S. Department of State issued a travel warning May 31 to Americans planning on attending the Euros. (RELATED: Frenchman Arrested With Huge Arsenal, Planned 15 Attacks)
“Euro Cup stadiums, fan zones, and unaffiliated entertainment venues broadcasting the tournaments in France and across Europe represent potential targets for terrorists, as do other large-scale sporting events and public gathering places throughout Europe,” the travel warning reads.
The Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris fired 70 employees after it was exposed they were on the terror watch list. The EgyptAir flight that crashed in the Mediterranean May 19 departed from Charles de Gaulle.
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