Romina McGuinness, Express, August 11, 2017
A security expert said France-based jihadists had launched a war of attrition against the country’s security forces in an attempt to fray soldiers’ nerves and wear down the armed forces.
Thibault de Montbrial, the former head of France’s Centre for Analysis, Planning and Strategy (CAPS), told the French daily Le Figaro, said: “All terrorist attacks that have taken place since January have been against soldiers or police officers.
“It’s not a coincidence. Jihadists are simply trying to wear down security forces via a string of small-scale, random attacks that are almost impossible to prevent.”
“Terror tactics have become more rudimentary and an attack could occur anywhere and at anytime, meaning that police and intelligence and security services are “always on the alert,” Mr de Montbrial added.
The security expert added Operation Sentinel – the 7,000-strong force launched in January 2015 after the terrorist attacks in Paris – had to be “reformed” after an Algerian Islamist deliberately rammed his car into a group of elite soldiers on Wednesday morning.
He said: “The French military has to adapt to changing threats if Operation Sentinel is to be a success.
“We still need anti-terror soldiers to guard key sites, but we need more armed private security agents to patrol crowded public areas.
“Police officers, for their part, should spend more time patrolling the streets.”
The Islamist terrorist threat to the West, Mr de Montbrial continued, will endure for years to come.
“The terror threat is here to stay. French ISIS fighters will return home from Syria or Iraq, and one battle-hardened jihadist alone can radicalise dozens of people,” he warned, adding that France was “teeming with radicalised Muslims” and should therefore brace itself for another Paris-style attack.
“Jihadists will continue to attempt large-scale terrorist attacks like the ones that took place in Paris in 2015. Soldiers have been targeted in the latest string of attacks, but jihadists still plan to carry out attacks against civilians and cause a maximum number of casualties,” he said.
Mr de Montbrial also slammed Emmanuel Macron’s government, saying that while it was “aware” of the terror threat, the government had so far “failed to denounce the rise of political Islam in France”.