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French security supremos sanction raised terror levels after Moscow attack

By Paul Myers - RFI
Europe   Emmanuel Dunand, AFP
MAR 25, 2024 LISTEN
© Emmanuel Dunand, AFP

French defence chiefs are scheduled to meet on Monday to thrash out details of an increased security plan in the wake of the Moscow terrorist attack which left 137 people dead and nearly 200 injured.

They will get together in Paris after President Emmanuel Macron called in his top ministers and advisors on Sunday night to the Elysée Palace to discuss the implications of the assault at the Crocus City Hall just outside the Russian capital on Friday evening.

"Given the claim of the attack by the Islamic State and the threats hanging over our country, we have decided to raise the Vigipirate posture to its highest level,” said prime minister Gabriel Attal after the meeting.

On Monday, Russian officials cast doubt on assertions by the United States that the Islamic State was responsible for the deadliest attack inside Russia for two decades.

Four men appeared at Moscow's Basmanny district court on Monday charged with terrorism. Two pleaded guilty and all four were remanded in custody for two months.

Investigators are continuing to search the rubble of the building housing the concert hall, which was ravaged by a huge fire started by the attackers.

Concern

French police are in the process offinalising their plans to ensure safety during the Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer in Paris and several cities throughout the country.

On Wednesday, senior politicians in the Senate – the upper house of the French parliament – will present their findings from a year-long review into how the police intend to operate and marshal an estimated 15 million spectators at nearly 40 venues to be used during the Games.

The inquiry was launched after the disastrous prelude to the Champions League final at the Stade de France in Saint Denis in May 2022 between Real Madrid and Liverpool.

Thousands of Liverpool fans were prevented from entering the stadium leading to a near fatal crush of supporters who were also sprayed with tear gas by riot police and robbed by youths.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin had blamed Liverpool fans, saying that 40,000 had travelled to the stadium either with no tickets or fake ones.

Vindication

But a French Senate fact-finding mission found the problems were actually caused by a "string of dysfunctions" including a lack of preparation by French authorities and European football's gioverning body Uefa, as well as poorly executed security arrangements.

"These dysfunctions were at every level, not only during the implementation but also during preparations in advance," the co-chair of the enquiry Laurent Lafon said.

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