How Police Foiled Euro 2016 Terror Attacks Against Muslims, Jews | Independent Newspapers Limited
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How Police Foiled Euro 2016 Terror Attacks Against Muslims, Jews

Posted: Jun 7, 2016 at 12:33 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Details have emerged on how law enforcement agents arrested a French citizen in Ukraine with a small arsenal of weapons cops say was going to be used against targets in France, including religious institutions, during the Euro 2016 soccer tournament.

French media have identified the suspect as 25-year-old Gregoire Moutaux, a farm worker who held radical, right-wing and anti-immigrant views. He was arrested on May 21 on the Ukrainian-Polish border allegedly carrying five Kalashnikov assault rifles, a couple of grenade launchers, some 5,000 rounds of ammunition and 275 pounds of dynamite, as well as 20 balaclavas.

Ukrainian intelligence officials say he was motivated by ultra-right political views that were especially anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic. His attacks against a mosque, a synagogue and other infrastructure were to be his “sign of protest” against the surge in mass migration and the Muslim presence in France. “He was armed to the teeth and ready to strike,” said one official.

Other than the religious buildings, other potential targets identified by the Ukrainians included tax offices, police patrol vehicles and bridges and roads.

However, Moutaux doesn’t seem to have been a good terrorist. The Ukrainians say he entered the country in December and made contact with groups fighting in the south-east, hoping to buy weapons to bring back to France. The SBU kept their eye on him until he tried to leave the country with his weapons cache at a border crossing. He’ll face terrorism, smuggling and weapons charges.

“We were able to prevent 15 terrorist acts that were planned in France on the eve of and during the European Championship football,” said Vasyl Grystak of the Ukrainian security service SBU.

This Friday is the kick-off for the Euro 2016 soccer tournament in Paris, which is still on edge following the terror attacks last November and that is expected to absorb tens of thousands of tourists over the next four weeks. An unprecedented security operation has been set up: there will be at least 90,000 police and other security agents charged with ensuring the safety of the huge crowds both at stadiums around the country and in the big public spaces where fans gather to watch the matches.