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France's Perpetual Battle Against Terrorism

The Paris Attacks in Context

A woman kneels near candles at the Place du Capitole in Toulouse, France, November 17, 2015. Fred Lancelot / Reuters

Last Friday night’s simultaneous terror attacks on Paris served as a stark reminder of the threat the self-proclaimed Islamic State (also known as ISIS) poses to the West. At present, 132 are confirmed to be dead, and ISIS has warned that France was “just the beginning of the storm.” Ominous as that may be, however, France has been under sustained assault from Islamist terrorists for the last 12 months, even if the threat has gone largely unnoticed by the public. Although most of the attacks have been thwarted, their frequency—and the ways in which the French state has uncovered them—is alarming.

ISIS spoke of France back in September 2014, when group spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani proclaimed to his listeners that “if you can kill an American or European infidel, especially the spiteful and cursed French, kill them in any way possible.” The response to this call was rapid: in December 2014,

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