Monday, 13th November 2017
As France prepares to mark the second anniversary of the November 2015 Paris attacks, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb has warned that the terrorist threat remains “very high,” with a number of “small groups” planning attacks.
France has been on high alert since January 2015, when it was paralyzed by a series of the self-styled Islamic State-linked terrorist attacks. The most horrific of these took place on November 13, 2015, when 130 people were killed and hundreds of others injured in coordinated attacks in and around Paris, RT reported.
“This was the first case of mass killing” in France, Collomb told Le Journal du Dimanche (JDD) on Saturday. “We did not think back at the time that it was even possible in France… Now we are prepared.”
“Our services are better equipped to detect threats, they do it every week, quietly,” he added.
Collomb told RTL last month that as many as 32 attack plots have been thwarted in the past two years in France.
The terrorist threat level remains “very high,” Collomb told JDD, citing the presence of “small groups, here and there on our territory, [which] have plans for violent attacks each on their own, without any link between the groups.” The minister highlighted the fact that the number of French jihadists who travel to Syria to fight alongside IS now is “close to zero,” and the returns are not “massive.”
Last month, Le Figaro reported that French fighters who joined IS in Syria and Iraq received welfare benefits even after joining. France’s Criminal Brigade, which specializes in tracking down IS funding, uncovered fraudulent welfare payments to jihadists totaling over €2 million ($2.3 million) from Europe between 2012 and 2017. Around €500,000 came from France, the newspaper said.