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Frenchman arrested for alleged plot to attack religious sites during Euro 2016

Ukrainian security services arrest man after they sold him deactivated weapons for Euro 2016 attacks on Muslim, Jewish sites
A video grab taken from undated footage made available on the Ukrainian SBU security service' official website on 6 June (AFP / SBU Security Service)

A Frenchman has been arrested for allegedly plotting to attack Muslim and Jewish sites during the upcoming Euro 2016 football tournament that kicks off in France on Friday.

The man was arrested in late May near the Polish border with Ukraine, Ukrainian authorities said on Monday. The security services said that they filmed the man loading the weapons into a van before arresting him.

According to a statement from Kiev, the 25-year-old was arrested with an arsenal of weapons and explosives including rocket launchers and Kalashnikov assault rifles in his vehicle.

The Ukrainian Security Service, or SBU, said it had followed him since December. They permitted him to buy five machine guns, two rocket-propelled grenade launchers, 125 kilograms of TNT, as well as other weapons and 20 balaclavas. 

The man was identified as Gregoire Moutaux, who lives in the village Nant-le-Petit with his grandfather and works as a cattle inseminator.

They allege that he was hoping to stage a series of attacks on Muslim and Jewish sites in France during the Euro 2016 soccer championships.

“The Frenchman spoke negatively about his government's actions, mass immigration, the spread of Islam and globalisation, and also talked about plans to carry out several terrorist attacks," Ukrainian security service SBU chief Vasily Gritsak told reporters.

Gritsak also said the man was hoping to hit French government administration buildings.

However, a French police source told Reuters that Paris was sceptical about the affair and that the man was not known to either police or intelligence services and that a search of his home in northern France showed up nothing incriminating.

Security officials in Europe are on high alert after attackers pledging allegiance to the Islamic State group killed 130 people in Paris last November and suicide bombers killed 32 people at Belgium's main international airport and on the Brussels metro in March.

While authorities have repeatedly stressed that security services will be extremely vigilant in the run up to the games and that all possible precautions are being taken, concerns remain high that militants will try to attack the games. 

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