Wales

Euro 2016: Europol boss 'concerned' over terror threat

Europol director Rob Wainwright

The Welsh director of Europol has said he is concerned about possible terrorist attacks during the Euro 2016 football championships in France.

Rob Wainwright, who heads the European Union's law enforcement agency, made the comments to Newyddion 9.

It comes after the US State Department warned of possible militant attacks in France.

But Mr Wainwright, originally of Pontyberem, Carmarthenshire, said he was "impressed" by French security.

He said French authorities were "putting in a great deal of effort to secure the tournament" and fans should "really celebrate" Wales making their first major finals in almost 60 years.

Image copyright REUTERS
Image caption France remains under a state of emergency following militant attacks

"But it's true - we have a terrorist threat in Europe at the moment," he added.

"We've seen the devastating effects of that also in France as we know in the last few months.

"I think the Euros will be a potential target of Islamic State and so we shouldn't close our eyes to that."

Mr Wainwright, who was first appointed Europol director in 2009, added: "Europol is helping French authorities to really protect these championships from a possible threat. I'm concerned about the possible threat but impressed by the security safeguards that the French authorities have put in place."

'Greater targets'

On Tuesday, the US State Department said "the large number of tourists visiting Europe in the summer months will present greater targets for terrorists" in a travel alert for US citizens.

Euro 2016 is being hosted from 10 June to 10 July at various venues, with up to a million foreign fans expected in France for the tournament.

France is already under a state of emergency following Islamist-claimed attacks in Paris in 2015.

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