France heightens New Year’s Eve security amid ‘terrorist’ threat

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Around 90,000 police officers will be mobilized across the country as the country remains under a “very high” terror threat alert.

ANNOUNCEMENT

Security will be tight across France on New Year’s Eve, with around 90,000 law enforcement officers deployed.

This was stated by the head of national intelligence Céline Berthon.

Of the 90,000 police deployed, around 6,000 will be in Paris.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin says the French capital is where more than 1.5 million people are expected to attend celebrations around the iconic Champs Elysees.

Speaking at a press conference, Darmanin cited a “very high terrorist threat.”

This is partly due to “what is happening in Israel and Palestine,” he added, referring to the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.

Darmanin said police would use drones for the first time to ensure safety and that tens of thousands of firefighters and 5,000 soldiers would also be deployed.

The New Year’s Eve celebrations in Paris will focus on the 2024 Paris Olympic Games and feature DJ sets, fireworks and video projections on the Arc de Triomphe.

The security challenge ahead of the Olympics was highlighted when a tourist was killed in a knife attack near the Eiffel Tower on December 2.

Large-scale attacks – such as the one at the Bataclan in 2015, when armed Islamic extremists invaded the music hall and opened fire on café terraces, killing 130 people – also loom large in French collective memory.

The December attack sparked concern in France and abroad about the safety of the Games which begin on July 26, just under seven months away.

Despite the concerns, law enforcement appears eager to show off a security-ready Paris.

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