Details Of French Stadium Attack Show Bumbling Terrorists, Exceptional Security
France will play host to Euro 2016, and Stade de France, the stadium which was one of the targets in Friday's terror attacks in Paris, will be the site of seven of the matches, among them the championship final. Um, that day I plan to be ill.
But before you cancel your reservations on Travelocity, know this: security there was top-notch that night, and prevented a much larger catastrophe.
A reported 129 people were killed during separate attacks in Paris, but AP reports only one of those (or three, according to France Football Federation president Noel Le Graet), were killed near the stadium. And no terrorist got in, as theyu had obviously planned. Considering that there were nearly 80,000 people in there watching France play Germany in a soccer friendly, that's actually remarkable.
According to the Associated Press and other reports, there were three explosions outside of the Stade de France on Friday -- two during the first half of the game and one at halftime. But two caused no deaths, and one occurred in a side alley and harmed no one except the terrorist who blew himself up. Huffington Post:
At least one of the attackers tried to get in, despite not having a ticket, but was turned away, said an official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to publicly discuss the complex and fast-evolving investigation.
One police theory is that the attackers never expected to get inside, knowing they likely wouldn't get past security pat-downs with their suicide vests, and instead planned to detonate as people filed in before kick-off or filed out after France's 2-0 victory.
But their timing may have been off, officials say. When they triggered their vests -- the bulk of the crowd was safely inside, enjoying itself.
"We think this operation failed," a police official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because French law doesn't allow the release of details from ongoing investigations. "Badly organized."
One man who was late to the game reported seeing one of the terrorists in the restroom of a restaurant across the street from the stadium, sweating profusely and staring into a mirror above the sink. He then went out and detonated a bomb an the street outside -- injuring several and killing one bystander.
But of the three explosions, that one was the worst. One would think that the explosions outside would have caused chaos inside of the stadium -- people trampled, etc. Instead, fans mostly remained calm, preferring to sing the French National Anthem than to scream and panic. It turns out that of the several targets attacked that night, being inside of a huge soccer stadium was the safest place to be.
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