US officials warn Euro 2016 among ‘‘targets for terrorists’

Polish Army in training for possible attack, preparing for NATO summit in Warsaw in July. Picture: AP
Polish Army in training for possible attack, preparing for NATO summit in Warsaw in July. Picture: AP
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US officials have warned the Euro 2016 football championship being held in France next month could be a target of militant attacks.

“The large number of tourists visiting Europe in the summer months will present greater targets for terrorists,” the State Department said.

It went on: “France will host the European Soccer Championship. Euro Cup stadiums, fan zones, and 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.”

Euro 2016 is being hosted from 10 June-10 July at various venues including Paris, Lyon, Nice and Marseille.

France is already under a state of emergency following last year’s Islamist-claimed attacks in Paris.

The near-simultaneous assaults on a stadium, concert hall, bars and restaurants left 130 people dead and many more wounded.

In its travel alert for US citizens, the State Department warns of the dangers of militant attacks throughout Europe.

The attacks could hit tourist sites, restaurants, commercial centres and transportation, it warns, with large events such as Euro 2016 singled out.

It included warnings for attacks in venues where large numbers might gather to watch the games on jumbo screens, for instance in outdoor squares or parks, among the sites at risk.

The warning also cites the Tour de France cycle race and the Catholic Church’s Youth Day in Krakow, Poland, which is expected to draw up to 2.5 million visitors.

It stops short, however, of telling travellers to stay away from areas of potential risk but recommends they “exercise vigilance”, monitor local media and lay down plans to stay in touch with family in case of an emergency.

The terror warning comes as French authorities are already bracing for a possible resurgence of hooliganism at some of the venues In May, 32 people died in neighbouring Belgium when suicide blasts hit Brussels airport and a metro station

Up to one million foreign fans are expected in Paris for the tournament.