3 at­tacks in just 2 years: Why France is a ter­ror­ist tar­get

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Sushil Aaron sushil.aaron@hin­dus­tan­times.com

On Fri­day, France wit­nessed its third ma­jor ter­ror­ist strike in less than two years. A truck mow­ing down 84 peo­ple in Nice fol­lowed the at­tack on the Char­lie Hebdo car­toon­ists in Jan­uary 2015 and the near­si­mul­ta­ne­ous raids on a foot­ball sta­dium, con­cert hall and restau­rants last Novem­ber.

The scale of ca­su­al­ties, the chill­ing mode of ex­e­cu­tion and the fre­quency of at­tacks prompts ques­tions about why France has be­come such a vul­ner­a­ble tar­get. How­ever, un­der­stand­ing mo­ti­va­tions for ter­ror at­tacks is a com­plex sub­ject that has no schol­arly con­sen­sus.

Ex­perts gen­er­ally point to the fol­low­ing rea­sons: First is the avail­abil­ity of French ex­trem­ists rad­i­calised by the so-called Is­lamic State, the ter­ror group that has rav­aged Syria and Iraq since 2014.

Ac­cord­ing to the United Na­tions, the Is­lamic State of Iraq and the Le­vant (ISIS) and the al-Nusra Front have man­aged to at­tract re­cruits from over 80 coun­tries; around 1,400 are from France and many are be­lieved to have re­turned home to fight the French State.

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