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Euro 2016 final attack risk grows with French involvement: Germany

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany said on Tuesday Sunday’s final game of the Euro 2016 soccer championship in Paris could prove an attractive target for Islamic State, especially if hosts France, victim of November attacks, are playing.

“The French are well prepared,” German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told Reuters in an interview. “And we have no serious indication of terror attacks. Of course it could still change for the remaining games.

“The more spectacular the games are and the stronger a showing France makes, this makes it (the final) a main attraction. But the security services know that,” he added.

France has deployed more than 90,000 police, soldiers and private security agents to secure the tournament. It has also maintained a state of emergency in place since November when 130 people were killed in Islamic State attacks on Paris targets including the Stade de France where the final will be played.

France will play Germany on Thursday in Marseille for a place in the final in Paris against either Wales or Portugal, who face each other a day earlier in Lyon.

De Maiziere repeated his warning that Islamic State would seek to carry out spectacular attacks abroad as it comes under military pressure in Syria and Iraq, where it is losing territory.

“Europe, and Germany, is the focus of international terrorism. Some say the threat diminishes if there are military successes there (in Iraq and Syria), if the so-called Islamic State is pushed back, if cities are retaken,” he said.

“I don’t see it this way. I see the threat of what one calls an asymmetrical shift: If Islamic weakened it will seek to transfer the conflicts outside.”

Reporting by Thorsten Severin; Writing by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Ralph Boulton