Former Israeli General Overseeing Cannes Film Festival Security

Nitzan Nuriel brought on board as French mayor, interior minister ramp up efforts to avert a Paris-style mass terror attack.

Staff members laying out the red carpet outside the Palais des Festivals in Cannes on May 10, 2016 on the eve of the opening ceremony of the 69th Cannes Film Festival.
Staff members laying out the red carpet outside the Palais des Festivals in Cannes on May 10, 2016 on the eve of the opening ceremony of the 69th Cannes Film Festival. Credit: AFP

The Cannes Film Festival, which opens on Wednesday, has turned to a retired Israeli general to ensure security at the glamorous event, which is set to open on Wednesday.

Six months after the deadly Paris attacks, Cannes Mayor David Lisnard hired counter-terrorism expert Nitzan Nuriel, a former brigadier general, to oversee security operations at the two-week event, The International Business Times reported on Tuesday. Lisnard said he wanted to preempt a "multi-terror event" like the one that left 130 victims dead.

Nuriel is an associate at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism. He served as the director of the Counter Terrorism Bureau in the Prime Minister's Office from 2007 to 2012.

About 45,000 people are expected to attend the movie extravaganza including A-listers such as Isabelle Huppert, Adam Driver, George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, Julia Roberts, Marion Cotillard, Sean Penn and Javier Bardem.

The beefed-up security will include over 200 armed police as well as hundreds of officers brought in from the National Police and Gendarmerie, according to the Business Times. Its website also noted some 500 surveillance cameras and metal detectors would also be employed.

"The line has shifted," Nuriel told The Hollywood Reporter. "Things that we used to do in the previous festivals are probably no longer relevant. "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."

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has taken personal charge of security at Cannes, saying that authorities had introduced "exceptional (security) measures" for the 69th take of the festival. He made his comments after touring Cannes on Monday, local French media reported on Tuesday.

"We are faced with a higher risk than ever," Cazeneuve told reporters. "Faced with an enemy determined to strike us at any moment, we must prove extremely vigilant at all times."

Cazeneuve said the city had to take into account "the global nature of the event, its visibility, the high number of celebrities who must be protected, the concentration of crowds in public spaces, without forgetting the need to preserve the atmosphere of conviviality which is crucial to the success of the festival."

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