Germany’s national intelligence said Friday Islamic State militants have the Euro 2016 soccer tournament in their sights, but there’s no concrete evidence that an attack is currently being planned.
The comments from Hans-Georg Maassen, the head of Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, come after France’s spy chief said ISIS is gearing up for bomb attacks on large crowds in France.
France is scheduled to host Euro 2016, which starts June 10 and runs for a month at 10 stadiums across the country. ISIS claimed responsibility for terror attacks in November that killed 130 people across Paris.
"We know that IS has the European Championship in its sights," Maassen told the German newspaper Rheinische Post, according to The Telegraph.
France’s security was challenged last Saturday when spectators were able to smuggle smoke bombs into the Olympique de Marseille, the same venue suicide bombers targeted during the Paris attacks. Even with the new security features in place, the fans were still able to get the smoke bombs into the match.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the French state will deploy 73,000 police officers and gendarmes for Euro 2016 and mobilize about 10,000 soldiers.
More than two million spectators are expected to flow into France for Euro 2016 this season. The matches involved 24 teams and there will be designated fan areas for crowds to watch games on big screens in major cities. Each of the 24 teams will have a police and private security force guarding them.
According to The Wall Street Journal, each venue will have several security perimeters designed to keep anyone away without a ticket and that all private security have undergone 14-hour antiterrorism training.
While there was no hard evidence of an attacking being planned, Maassen said there was a lot of chatter that ISIS, Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda’s affiliate the Nusra Front wanted to commit atrocities against Western targets.