Is Wave of Terrorism Striking France?

Recently on October 10th, the French police reportedly discovered materials necessary to make bombs in a parking lot in Paris; they were led there after interrogating roughly a dozen suspects that had been arrested during the weekend.

Prior to this event, there were two shootings in the cities of Montauban and Toulouse in March. On March 11th, a French paratrooper was shot and killed in Toulouse; four days later, two French soldiers in uniform were killed while a third was wounded in Montaubaun. Four days after that on March 19th, four individuals (Three of whom were children) were killed at a Jewish school. There was one man behind the attacks, a descendant of Algerian parents living in France named Mohammed Merah. Mohammed. Although he is a follower of Islam, he also claimed to be fighting against Jews because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. French authorities state his anti-Semitism is likely the result of severe psychological issues and that he is an “isolated incident.”

Although Mohammed Merah was not connected with any major terrorist group such as al-Qaeda, his actions seems to have ignited a wave of violence against Jews across France. Over 148 acts of violence against Jews were reported by the Service de Protection de la Communauté Juive, or the Protection Service of the Jewish Community in March and April after Merah’s attacks.

France, currently one of the major economies in Europe and a key contributor to ISAF in Afghanistan, only has a 4% population that is Muslim; however in recent years there are huge amounts of immigrants from Algeria and the Middle East who are Muslim, making up almost 50% of all immigrants into France.

Intelligence agencies in France are now taking steps to try and tighten the grip on radical Muslims and anti-Semitic acts, implementing measures such as a proposed Internet law that would send people to prison for visiting websites that promote radicalism and terrorism. French authorities are able to hold suspects for up to 24 hours before releasing them, and it was that ability that led to the recent discovery of bomb materials. They have also confiscated several items such as rocket-propelled grenades, Kalishnikov assault rifles and grenades in suspects’ homes. Hopefully such measures will slow the increase of violence that seems to be growing in France.

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