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"The threat of a terrorist attack in France has never been
greater," DCRI chief Bernard Squarcini told
The head of French counter-intelligence Central Directorate
of Interior Intelligence (DCRI), Bernard Squarcini, believes
that the threat of a terrorist attack in France "has never
"We are now at the same level of threats than that of 1995" when
the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) killed eight people during attacks
against metro stations in Paris, he told the French newspaper
Le Journal du Dimanche.
"All the indicators are 'red'," he added. "Today,
in view of reports that are provided to us by our foreign partners
and our own observations, there are objective reasons to be concerned.
The threat has never been greater." he stressed.
He explained that the threat in France is threefold: "the
French convert who is radicalized and set up his operation alone,
Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which dispatches a squad
to carry out attacks in France and the French jihadists, those
who go to Afghanistan, Yemen or Somalia and returning illegally
tomorrow, seasoned, to continue their fight on French soil. "
"We expect to see attacks taking place on our territory," he
stated. AQIM is a franchise of al-Qaeda: they try to follow the
same objectives as the parent group. "15 years ago, when
we suffered a series of attacks in 1995, the threat came to us
only from east Algiers. (Today), it has greatly expanded." AQIM
was formerly known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat
(GSPC), itself a splinter group of the GIA formed in 1998.
He reiterated that French intelligence services thwart on average
two attacks per year and which were due to be carried out on
A positive point, however, DCRI chief refuted any significant
radicalization of Muslims in France. "Among 6 million Muslims
in France, there may be 300 individuals who pose a problem," he
During the 1990s, French intelligence services have gained considerable
experience (pdf) and a belief that the threat remains, hence
maintaining the public vigilance program Vigipirate at its second
level. The debate on banning the full veil and the recent Franco-Mauritanian
joint operation to free the French hostage Michel Germaneau from
AQIM are evidence of the important part played by France in global
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