New Year's Eve terrorism fears in France amid Israel-Hamas war, as 90,000 police officers on duty

29 December 2023, 23:13

More French police officers are being deployed on New Year's Eve  amid fears of a terror attack
More French police officers are being deployed on New Year's Eve amid fears of a terror attack. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

French authorities fear a terrorist attack on New Year's Eve because of the war between Israel and Hamas.

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Some 90,000 police officers will be deployed on Sunday night, as well as 35,000 firefighters and 5,000 soldiers.

Around 6,000 of the police officers on duty will be in Paris, where more than 1.5 million people are expected to attend celebrations on the Champs-Elysees.

Interior minister Gerald Darmanin cited a "very high terrorist threat" because, in part, of "what is happening in Israel and Palestine".

Mr Darmanin said that on New Year's Eve, police for the first time will be able to use drones as part of security work.

Read more: French teacher stabbed to death 'saved many lives' says Macron as 7,000 officers placed on high alert

Read more: German tourist killed and British man injured by Paris 'terrorist wielding a knife and hammer'

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France has seen two attacks linked to the war in Gaza since October 7: the killing of schoolteacher Dominique Bernard and the fatal attack on a German tourist near the Eiffel Tower in early December.

Large-scale attacks - such as that at the Bataclan in 2015, when Islamic extremists invaded the music hall and shot up cafe terraces, killing 130 people - also loom in memory.

The knife attack raised concern in France and abroad about security for the Games that begin on July 26, in just under seven months.

Colonel Richard Kemp speaks to Natasha Devon over UK's terrorism threat level

The celebrations in Paris will centre on the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, including DJ sets, fireworks and video projections on the Arc de Triomphe.

It comes as German authorities have also announced a huge police operation in Berlin for the last night of the year.

German interior minister Nancy Faeser said she was "concerned that New Year’s Eve could once again be a day on which we experience blind rage and senseless violence".

She added: "Of course we have to keep a very close eye on the danger of this mixing with radicalisation, which we are now seeing in light of the Middle East conflict".

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