French authorities say they foiled plot to attack Olympic football fans

French prosecutors have filed preliminary terrorism charges against an 18-year-old accused of a plot targeting spectators attending football matches at the Paris Olympics. The interior minister said it was the first threat foiled against the Games, which start in eight weeks' time.

Arrested last week, the suspect is accused of planning a "violent action" based on jihadist ideology, the national counterterrorism prosecutor's office said in a statement on Friday.

The man, who was not identified, is being held in custody pending further investigation.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said in a statement that members of the General Directorate of Internal Security arrested an 18-year-old man from Chechnya on 22 May on suspicion of being behind a plan to attack Olympic football matches.

According to the initial investigation, the man was preparing an attack on the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium in the southern city of Saint-Etienne, which will host several matches during the Games.

The planned attack was to target spectators and police forces, the statement said. The suspect hoped "to die and become a martyr", it added.

The interior minister has said there are multiple potential threats, including those from Islamic extremist groups, violent environmental activists, far-right groups and cyberattacks from Russia or other adversaries.

The Paris Olympics organising committee said it was made aware of the arrest and praised intelligence and security services.


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