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Monday, 1 October, 2001, 13:34 GMT 14:34 UK
French footballers 'terror targets'
Zinedine Zidane
French stars were under threat, the minister says
Dutch intelligence services foiled a terror attack on the French football team during Euro 2000, the Dutch interior minister has revealed.

Algerian extremists had planned an attack on the team during the championships which were jointly hosted by the Netherlands and Belgium, the minister, Klaas de Vries, told parliament.

Ten people were arrested in France, Belgium and the Netherlands on the basis of information from the Dutch internal security services (BVD).

The minister's comments came as he sought to reassure MPs of the effectiveness of Dutch intelligence in the wake of the US atrocities.

He said the Euro 2000 operation was an example of the capacity of the BVD to deal with a terrorist threat.

Security tightened

"About 10 people were involved. They were members of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, a dissident group split from the Armed Islamic Group (GIA)," a BVD spokesman told the French news agency AFP.

French football team
The team went on to win the championships
Press reports said that they had planned to attack the team at the Dutch fishing village of Ijmuiden.

Security around the team was increased and the players - who went on to win the championships - were moved to a different hotel.

One of the three men arrested in France over the incident, Abdel Mechat, has been placed under judicial investigation, AFP reported.

The three arrested in the Netherlands were later released for lack of evidence, the BVD spokesman said.

Last week Italian ministers said they had foiled plans by supporters of Osama Bin Laden to launch an attack on US President George W. Bush during the Genoa G8 summit earlier this year.

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