16-year-old arrested after saying he wanted to ‘die a martyr’ at Paris Olympics

A 16-year-old boy has been arrested by anti-terrorism police in France after he allegedly said on social media he wanted to “die a martyr” at the Olympic Games in Paris this summer.

A spokesperson said on Wednesday the boy was arrested after he “publicly announced on social media that he planned to create an explosive belt to become a martyr”.

The teenager was arrested at his parents’ home on Tuesday after the alleged posts on Telegram the day prior, BFMTV reported.

The French outlet also reported that a search of the teenager’s home found handwritten papers in which he allegedly declared support for Islamic State.

The spokesperson said that an investigation was under way into whether he had genuine intentions to commit a terrorist act.

It comes after French President Emmanuel Macron previously admitted that the Olympics opening ceremony could be scaled down if the security threat is deemed too high.

Amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and continuing conflict in the Middle East, France previously raised its security alert to its highest level.

More on Paris

Emmanuel Macron participates in the Varietes Club charity football match to benefit children in hospital.
Pic: Reuters
Emmanuel Macron takes part in the Varietes Club charity football match. Pic: Reuters

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The government also asked 45 foreign countries to contribute several thousand extra military, police and civilian personnel to help safeguard the games, Reuters reports.

Earlier this month, Mr Macron said he was confident the opening ceremony, planned to take place on the River Seine, would go ahead but that France had “plan Bs, and even plan Cs” just in case.

This came in the face of concerns over potential security threats to the Games.

The 26 July event is set to be the first Olympic opening ceremony held outside a stadium setting and will see about 10,500 athletes parade through the heart of the French capital on some 160 boats on the Seine along a 3.7-mile route.

But if issues did arise, Mr Macron said that the ceremony could be restricted to the central Paris Trocadero square, facing the Eiffel Tower.

Another option would be to move the event indoors, to the Stade de France.

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