Brussels (HRNW): The terror cell that carried out attacks in Paris and Brussels was reportedly planning to target the Euro 2016 football championships in France this summer. The French newspaper Libération reported that Mohamed Abrini, who was arrested on Friday, had told Belgian investigators the Islamist group had never intended to target Brussels.
Instead the group intended to launch another attack in France, following the series of suicide bombings and shootings in November that left 130 dead and hundreds injured, Abrini is said to have told investigators. On Sunday prosecutors said the cell had originally intended to strike France.
“According to our information, Mohamed Abrini has explained the initial intention of this nebulous terrorist Franco-Belgian terrorist group was to go into action during the Euro football tournament,” Libération reported on Monday.
The tournament is taking place in 10 host cities across France between 10 June and 10 July, with both the opening match and final among those to be held at the Stade de France in Paris, which was also a target of the 13 November attacks.
The claim came as no surprise to French police. “It’s hardly a scoop to learn that the terrorists were hoping to attack during the Euro. The security forces are always examining possible attack scenarios to know how to respond,” a police officer told Libération.