Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has warned soccer fans to be extra vigilant in the face of a potential terror attack during this summer’s Euro 2016 cup, which is being hosted by France.
The FCO urged football fans to consider stadiums, fan zones and venues broadcasting the soccer tournament as potential terror targets.
Fears of a far-right terror attack are on the rise after Ukrainian officials arrested a Frenchman on Monday carrying two rocket launchers, explosives, detonators, five Kalashnikovs and 5,000 rounds of ammunition.
The man was allegedly inspired by fascist ideology to plot deadly strikes in France.
UK counter-terrorism officers are assisting French authorities in assessing and preparing for possible threats to soccer venues.
Counter-terrorism teams will be stationed at Eurostar terminals and even on some cross-Channel trains.
“As we approach the Euros, any operation such as that in any country is clearly a concern,” said Scotland Yard Head of Trident Gang Crime Command Dean Haydon.
“As you would expect, we are working with the French and other local police and security and intelligence agencies across the world to properly understand [if] there [is] a threat to the Euros.”
European police are on high alert for acts of violence by radical religious groups following Islamic State’s (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terror attacks in Belgium earlier this year and in Paris last November.
“Certainly we have seen propaganda, Islamic State and potential talk of plots against the Euros, but we’re working with all those various different agencies, to police and make the Euros a safe event and a safe games,” Haydon said.
Last November, IS-linked terrorists attacked the Stade de France in Paris while an international friendly was going on between Germany and France. One suicide bomber and a passer-by were killed.
The FCO has advised soccer fans traveling to France to follow the advice of the local French authorities.
A Downing Street spokeswoman said French authorities “have got an extensive security operation in place, with 77,000 police and gendarmes, 10,000 military personnel and a similar amount of security guards.”
UK police have also carried out searches of 29 ports across the country in a bid to prevent football hooligans from illegally sneaking out of the country.
Some 1,841 England supporters and 86 Welsh football fans are subject to banning orders that stop them traveling to international soccer matches.