The terror cell that carried out the recent attacks in Paris and Brussels was reportedly also planning to target the Euro 2016 soccer tournament in France this summer, French outlets reported on Monday.
According to French daily Liberation, Mohamed Abrini, a Belgian national who was arrested last Friday and was sought as one of the accomplices of Salah Abdeslam, told Belgian investigators that the jihadi cell had never intended to target Brussels, instead the group intended to launch another attack in France, EFE news reported.
“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,” Liberation said.
Euro 2016 will take place in 10 host cities across France between June 10 and July 10, with both the opening match and final to be held at the Stade de France in Paris, which was also a target of the Paris attacks last November 13 that killed 190 people.
A police officer told Liberation: “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.”
Belgian prosecutors announced that Abrini, 31, a key suspect wanted in connection with the Paris attacks, had confessed to being the third bomber at Brussels airport.
Known from CCTV footage as “the man in the hat”, he left a large bag of explosives at the airport and then fled on foot.
He was arrested during a police raid in a Brussels suburb.