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France launches unprecedented security operation for Euro 2016

Rémy Gabalda / AFP | Around 13,000 troops will be on patrol in the French capital during Euro 2016.

As millions of football fans and the world's media descend on France for the Euro 2016 championships, one of the biggest security operations the country has ever seen is getting under way.


In the wake of the November 13 terror attacks on Paris, tensions are high as the country prepares to host the month-long football tournament, one of the world's biggest sporting events, which kicks off in just three days.

An extra 3,000 army troops are being drafted into the capital for the tournament to add to the 10,000 already deployed following last year's attacks, which included a suicide bombing at the Stade de France stadium while France were playing an international football match.

Altogether, around 100,000 police, security guards and soldiers are expected to be used across the country to ensure fans' safety.

Security will be especially tight at the official fan zone by the Eiffel Tower in Paris, where up to 90,000 fans at a time will come to enjoy the atmosphere and sporting action.

Bag checks and metal detectors will screen fans as they arrive.

"It's important that spectators arrive as far in advance as possible," Paris police chief Michel Cadot warned supporters.

"The fan zones and the stadiums are open in advance, far in advance for the fan zones, three hours ahead for the stadiums. So the recommendation for the public, for fans in the stadiums, or those in fan zones, is not to go to those areas at the last minute."

Along with the terror threat, strikes, violent protests and flooding have all added to the challenge of policing Euro 2016. Nevertheless, Cadot is confident that the security operation will be as comprehensive as possible.

"We'll never be able to say that there's no risk, it's a difficult period with attacks that could hit our country anywhere," he said. "But yes, I think today we're as prepared as we ought to be faced with this challenge."

Euro 2016 gets under way when France take on Romania at the Stade de France in Paris on Friday, June 10.

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