Organizers of the upcoming Cannes Film Festival have been recently preparing for more than just wardrobe malfunctions — they're readying for a possible coordinated terrorist attack on the star-studded event. Law enforcement, security guards and government officials teamed up last week to simulate a raid on the festival complete with fake bombs and injured actors, 20 minutes reported.
"The exercise is not reality, but the exercise helps to prepare for the reality and to limit the risk," Cannes Mayor David Lisnard, told Le Point in French. "The risks are changing . . . The buildings were designed 30 years ago when security issues were not the same."
Thursday's training event took place at the Palais des Festivals convention center, a nearby apprentice center and at least two nearby schools. A fictitious car bomb went off, then four would-be terrorists with weapons took over the red carpet, Ora reported. More than 200 extras played the fleeing, injured and dead.
The emergency response to the faux assault followed security policies enacted in Cannes after the January 2015 shooting at the Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper offices in Paris that killed 11 people and the November 2015 November Paris attacks that killed 130, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The Islamic State group took responsibility for the latter.
The extremist organization known as ISIS has put all of Europe on guard after organizing three bombings in Brussels, Belgium, on March 22. More than 30 people died.
Cannes itself has been home to suspected terrorists. In 2012, authorities busted the "Cannes-Torcy cell" of fighters, "branded by counter-terrorism officials as the most dangerous jihadist group in France," Agence France-Presse reported. In 2014, police in Cannes arrested Ibrahim Boudina, who had trained with ISIS in Syria and was making the explosive triacetone triperoxide in preparation for an attack, according to the New York Times.
"You have to be prepared for what we consider a multi-terror event, not only in one place and not only in one hour — in a few places over a few hours," security consultant Nitzan Nuriel told the Hollywood Reporter. "The most important thing is to make sure that we have the know-how, the capability and are fully trained to take the responsibility if something should happen."
The Cannes film festival, which is expected to draw more than 200,000 people, is scheduled for May 11-22.