France Foils Another AttackNovember 30, 2016 in France
France disclosed on 21 November that it had foiled a terrorist plot and arrested seven people, a year after a state of emergency was imposed in a bid to counter a wave of Islamist attacks.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve disclosed in a statement “yesterday, a terrorist act on our soil that was being prepared for a long time was foiled thanks to the work of the DGSI,” referring to France’s internal intelligence service. He wen on to say that “the scale of the terrorist threat is enormous and it is not possible to ensure zero risk despite everything we are doing.” Mr Cazeneuve disclosed that seven people of French, Moroccan and Afghan origin, aged 29 to 37, were detained on 20 November, adding that one of the detentions followed a tip-off from a foreign government. According to the interior minister, two were arrested in the Mediterranean port city of Marseille and four in Strasbourg in the northeast of France. Mr Cazeneuve did not disclose where the seventh person was arrested. While the minister provided no information on the target of the planned attack, the mayor of Strasbourg disclose that it appeared that the plot had not concerned his city but rather “the Paris region.” A source close to the inquiry also disclosed that some of those detained had spent time in the Syria-Iraq region. Meanwhile Le Parisian newspaper has cited a source as having told it the suspects arrested were awaiting a consignment of weapons.
The news of a foiled attack comes as France prepares to elect a new president next year. Security is a major theme in campaigning ahead of the May 2017 election. Since January 2015, when Islamist militant killed seventeen people in Paris in an attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, more than 230 people have been killed in attacks on French soil. On 13 November 2015, gunmen and suicide bombers killed 130 people in coordinated strikes in Paris. The so-called Islamic State (IS) group, whose strongholds in Syria and Iraq are being bombed by airplanes from an international coalition that includes France, has urged followers to continue attacking the country.