Drone attacks are top threat at big events: French minister
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Drone attacks are the "main terrorist threat" at sports events, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told AFP on Sunday from Doha as Qatar hosts the World Cup.
"Drones are the main terrorist threat of today and tomorrow," Darmanin said hours before attending the opening match of the FIFA World Cup.
He warned of the dangers of "a drone loaded with explosives that falls on a crowd, on an exposed team, on an opening ceremony like at the Olympic Games for example."
"When you organise an event like this, cyber attacks, the fight against drones, questions of terrorist threats, the flow of people are important subjects," he said.
He said 225 French security personnel were in Qatar to help keep some 20,000 French football fans safe.
Darmanin said France could gain "intelligence and experience for the future" from the Qatar tournament as France prepares to host the Rugby World Cup next year and the Olympics in 2024.
The opening ceremony of the Paris Olympics in 2024, where 600,000 spectators are expected to line the banks of the Seine, is a headache for authorities in France, which has seen a string of terror attacks in recent years.
Responding to criticism of Qatar's human rights record, Darmanin said sports should be kept separate from politics.
Holding such a contest "allows us to move certain countries like Qatar forward on labour laws and respect for the environment", he added.
"If we only ever organise such events in Europe, it's difficult to argue that they are global."