Why did France became a target for Terror attacks?


Many experts are not surprised that Islamic terrorists targeted France in attacks that killed at least 129 people and injured hundreds more in Paris.

Attackers used guns and bombs at several sites across Paris on Friday the 13th of November, including the Stade de France and the Bataclan concert hall, where a shooting rampage and hostage situation left about 89 people dead. Eight attackers have died, seven after killing themselves, and authorities are now searching for accomplices.

In a statement claiming responsibility for the attack, ISIS called Paris "the capital of prostitution and vice". The terrorist group also stated that France and "all nations following in its path" are "at the top of the target list for the Islamic State”. Under President Francois Hollande, France launched its first airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria in September.

Witnesses at the Bataclan said the gunmen shouted in French, "This is because of all the harm done by Hollande to Muslims all over the world”. Another witness confirmed this to CNN, telling the news network the attacker who shouted that statement sounded like a native French speaker.

Unnamed French police officials told The Associated Press that authorities have identified one of the suicide bombers as "a young Frenchman flagged in the past for links with an Islamic extremist activity." Expert think the attack could have been a pointed warning to France to cease strikes in Syria.

It could be "to say to France, 'If you continue to bomb our positions, there's going to be more of the same and you had better leave off or more of your civilians will die”. One more reason could be that although ISIS' greatest enemy is the United States, it’s extremely difficult to get operatives into this country."

Paris might also be a more fruitful recruiting ground for ISIS than cities in some other western countries. France has all kinds of suburbs, but the word for them, banlieues, has become pejorative, meaning slums dominated by immigrants.

"Inside the banlieues are the cités: colossal concrete housing projects built during the postwar decades, in the Brutalist style of Le Corbusier. Conceived as utopias for workers, they have become concentrations of poverty and social isolation. The cités and their occupants are the subject of anxious and angry discussion in France."

After the attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo earlier this year, which was carried out by Al Qaeda operatives, local activists in a Paris banlieue was worried that it would divide France even more. "I fear for the Muslims of France," one woman wrote on an activist's Facebook page, "The narrow-minded or frightened are going to treat all Muslims like terrorists, the woman said. This can cause isolation for Muslims in Paris's suburbs.

Still, authorities haven't determined who specifically carried out the France attacks this week. And it's likely that foreign terrorists played a significant role. Anything is possible, but the complexity of the attacks, the armaments that they had suggests that it's not merely inspiration or activating a local cell. It suggests that at least some of the people had training in a theater of war or in ISIS-controlled territory.




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