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Preparing for a terrorist attack at the Paris Olympics: who is planning a bloody showdown at the Games and what the French leadership is doing

Olena PavlovaSport
Paris thinks about changing the opening ceremony of the 2024 Olympics

Counterterrorism experts, as well as officials from the United States and Europe, are seriously concerned about possible terrorist attacks at the Summer Olympics in Paris, which will take place from July 26 to August 11, 2024. In the wake of the shooting at the Crocus City Hall near Moscow, France has already asked about 45 countries to provide it with additional resources to ensure security at the competition.

Thus, The New York Times reports that counterterrorism experts have expressed concern that the terrorist attacks in Moscow and Iran could prompt ISIS-X to redouble its efforts to strike in Europe, especially in France, Belgium, the United Kingdom and other countries that have been attacked over the past decade.

Preparing for a terrorist attack at the Paris Olympics: who is planning a bloody showdown at the Games and what the French leadership is doing

"I am concerned about the Olympic Games in Paris. They will be a prime target for terrorists," said Edmund Fitton-Brown, a former senior UN counterterrorism official who is now a senior advisor to the Countering Extremism Project.

Preparing for a terrorist attack at the Paris Olympics: who is planning a bloody showdown at the Games and what the French leadership is doing

A senior Western intelligence official told the American newspaper that there are three main factors that could inspire ISIS-X militants to attack: the existence of sleeper cells in Europe, images of the war in the Gaza Strip, and support for Russian-speaking people living on our continent.

French intelligence services are not sitting idle either, and have already recommended canceling the initial opening ceremony of the Olympics due to the threat of a terrorist attack, Europe1 radio reported.

Preparing for a terrorist attack at the Paris Olympics: who is planning a bloody showdown at the Games and what the French leadership is doing
Preparing for a terrorist attack at the Paris Olympics: who is planning a bloody showdown at the Games and what the French leadership is doing

"We have to go to Plan B," a source in the General Directorate of Internal Security told the resource. According to him, the current format of the flag parade on the Seine River in the center of Paris is too risky. And the security service "wants to avoid a scenario of a coordinated attack on the day of the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in front of cameras from around the world."

According to Europe1, the French security services are already recording unusual activity of Central Asians, whom they are monitoring as potentially dangerous. These are citizens of Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.

Preparing for a terrorist attack at the Paris Olympics: who is planning a bloody showdown at the Games and what the French leadership is doing

Earlier, according to Politico, French President Emmanuel Macron has already expressed a desire to reduce the number of spectators at the opening of the Games, guided by considerations of crowd control and security, as the ceremony will be held for the first time in history in a public space, not a stadium.

Boats carrying the flags of each country will sail through the water in the heart of Paris, while 104,000 spectators will enjoy the festivities on the waterfront and another 222,000 people will watch from the bridges and streets. This was announced in March by French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin. While in October 2022, during the official launch of the Summer Games, the possibility of hosting 600,000 people was discussed.

Preparing for a terrorist attack at the Paris Olympics: who is planning a bloody showdown at the Games and what the French leadership is doing

At the same time, according to a senior Interior Ministry official, French intelligence services have not yet discovered plans for terrorist attacks aimed specifically at the Olympics, but he added that the main threat is Islamist terrorism.

In early March, the French Interior Ministry found that groups with operational centers outside France are targeting the country, but do not yet have the financial means to do so, the official said, citing the example of al-Qaeda and ISIS.

Preparing for a terrorist attack at the Paris Olympics: who is planning a bloody showdown at the Games and what the French leadership is doing
Preparing for a terrorist attack at the Paris Olympics: who is planning a bloody showdown at the Games and what the French leadership is doing

In addition to ISIS and its offshoots, it is possible that Russia itself will try to organize a terrorist attack in Paris, whose athletes either cannot qualify for the Olympics due to suspensions from tournaments or refuse to participate on the Kremlin's instructions. However, Moscow will most likely try to do it with someone else's hands.

Preparing for a terrorist attack at the Paris Olympics: who is planning a bloody showdown at the Games and what the French leadership is doing
Preparing for a terrorist attack at the Paris Olympics: who is planning a bloody showdown at the Games and what the French leadership is doing

According to Reuters, which also has its sources in the French government, the host of the Olympics has already asked about 45 countries to help with additional security at the Games. This will require several thousand additional military, police and civilian personnel.

France needs mechanized and mounted brigades, experts in document falsification, demining and anti-drone specialists, and dog teams. And 35 countries are ready to help and send their people to Paris.

Preparing for a terrorist attack at the Paris Olympics: who is planning a bloody showdown at the Games and what the French leadership is doing

On April 3, French Minister of Sport Amélie Oudea-Castaire was quick to reassure everyone, saying on France 2 that the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris were not under threat of terrorist attacks: "There is no specific terrorist threat to the Olympic and Paralympic Games at the moment."

She also added that holding the opening ceremony on the Seine River remains the "main plan," but suggested that an alternative option could be in the works. This was not very reassuring against the background of information about possible terrorist attacks.

Preparing for a terrorist attack at the Paris Olympics: who is planning a bloody showdown at the Games and what the French leadership is doing
Preparing for a terrorist attack at the Paris Olympics: who is planning a bloody showdown at the Games and what the French leadership is doing

At the same time, France plans to deploy about 45,000 of its police and other security forces, 20,000 private security personnel, and about 15,000 military personnel every day during the Paris Olympics.

Preparing for a terrorist attack at the Paris Olympics: who is planning a bloody showdown at the Games and what the French leadership is doing

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