Days ago, the French National Assembly brought significant changes to its national security laws and therefore lifted the “state of emergency” which was set up the day after November 13, 2015. On that day, France suffered the most lethal Islamist terrorist attack ever carried out on its soil with 130 people dead and 350 wounded.
Since then, despite increased budgets for intelligence agencies and a nationwide deployment of the military, the terrorism threat remained at “unprecedented level.” Although more sporadic like the attack that killed two young cousins at Marseilles’ rail station on October 1, 2017, Islamist terrorism is on everybody’s mind in France given that another “incident” could happen anytime.
Interior Minister Gérard Collomb thought so when he acknowledged that the state of emergency could well be resumed if another mass attack like the Bataclan’s takes place. The coming back “home” from Syria-Iraq of hundreds of French citizen jihadists, described as “more disappointed than sorry” by French Prosecutor François Molins, adds to gloomy assessments by the French intelligence community.
Indeed, “what worries us are plans for terrorist attacks prepared by teams that are still operating in fighting zones in Syria and Iraq,” Laurent Nunez, head of France’s internal intelligence agency DGSI told French daily Le Figaro. “We know that the will of the jihadists to take action is intact,” Nunez stressed. The scenario of a car bomb attack or suicide bomber has been considered very seriously for some time since jihadist operatives have shown growing capabilities in that modus operandi.