On Nov 13, the French capital suffered the worst terror attack
of any major European city since the 2004 Madrid train bombings. At
least three groups of attackers armed with automatic weapons and suicide
bomber vests targeted innocent civilians. They opened fire at
street-side cafes, restaurants and a popular concert hall, and they
tried to break into a soccer stadium, where French officials were
watching a match. The attackers killed at least 132 people and wounded
more than 400, French authorities have said.
It is an act of war that was committed by a terrorist army, a jihadist
army, Daesh, against France,” French president Francois Hollande
declared. Daesh is another name for the terrorist group Islamic State,
also called ISIS and ISIL. Hollande also declared a national state of
emergency and three days of mourning. As retaliation, France sent
warplanes to strike Islamic State militants in Syria on Nov 15.
The attacks come at a time when France and other European countries
are already fearful of “violent jihadists radicalized by the conflicts
in Syria and elsewhere”, said The New York Times.
France stepped up its participation in the military air campaign in
Syria at the end of September, according to The New York Times.
The Paris attacks are the latest events to suggest that the Islamic
State’s regional war in Syria and Iraq has transformed into a global
one. On Nov 12, more than 40 people were killed in Beirut, Lebanon, in a
similar suicide bombing. Earlier this month, more than 200 people died
in the explosion of a Russian plane over Egypt. The Islamic States
claimed responsibility for both events.
The threat of the Islamic State was the focus in a summit meeting of
leaders from the Group of 20 (G20) nations that started on Nov 15 in
Turkey. A New York Times analysis said that the recent terrorist attacks
might prompt the US and its Western allies to adopt a more aggressive
strategy toward the Islamic State. The Obama administration has
authorized air strikes in Syria and sent small teams of troops as
advisers to forces fighting on the ground against the Islamic State in
Iraq and Syria. But Obama has strongly resisted sending more troops to
the region to avoid repeating what he sees as the mistakes of the Iraq
War, according to The New York Times.