Terrorist plot targeting Paris summer Olympics foiled, French authorities say

World News

French authorities arrested an 18-year-old Chechen national suspected of plotting a terrorist attack targeting soccer matches during this summer’s Olympic games in Paris, as France remains on its highest level of security alert amid global tensions ahead of the games.
Official Olympic Flag

A general view of the Official Olympic Flag taken during the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea. (Photo by: Getty Images/Getty Images North America) Photo Illustration

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Key Takeaways
  • The suspect was arrested on May 22 for allegedly plotting an “Islamist-inspired attack,” according to a press release from the French Ministry of the Interior, which did not name the suspect.
  • The suspect was allegedly planning an attack targeting both spectators and police at the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium in the city of Saint-Etienne, which is set to host soccer matches during the Olympics this year.
  • The ministry said an initial investigation showed the individual wanted to “die a martyr.”
  • Gérald Darmanin, the French Minister of the Interior and Overseas Territories, said it was the first foiled attack targeting the Paris 2024 Olympics and the 50th attack foiled by French intelligence services since 2017.
  • In a statement on X, Darmamin said his ministry’s agents are “fully mobilized” to respond to security threats.
What To Watch For

The 2024 Olympics are set to start July 26 with a massive opening ceremony along the Seine River, which has prompted concerns about security. France has announced extensive security measures, including anti-terrorism measures that could subject all those who live and work in the area to security checks, according to the Associated Press.

Key Background

This year’s games come amid a particularly tumultuous geopolitical moment — with both the Israel-Hamas War in Gaza and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine still ongoing. In recent weeks France has been responding to unrest in its own territory of New Caledonia after proposed changes to voting laws sparked violent riots and conflict. France upgraded its security alert to the highest level earlier this year after the terror attack in Moscow in March, which the Islamic State has taken responsibility for. France has been the target of multiple terror attacks motivated by Islamic extremism over recent years, most notably a series of coordinated attacks in 2015 by Islamic terrorists that killed 130 people.

Big Number

94. That’s how many boats, bearing Olympic athletes, will be paraded along the Seine during the opening ceremonies, according to the Associated Press. Another 87 boats will carry security, media and non-athletes.

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