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French aggression drove extremists out. Then one brought the war home

Publié par Clifford Armion le 22/03/2012

Kim Sengupta

Mohammed Merah's killing spree is a blow to a security establishment that claims to have kept metropolitan France free from major terrorism. While racial and religious tensions had led to outbreaks of violent riots, there had been no attacks in Paris of the scale of London, Madrid or New York on 9/11.

Following a spate of bombings by north African groups in the 1980s and 1990s, mainly the work of the GIA (Armed Islamist Group of Algeria) the French authorities were the first in western Europe to focus on Muslim extremist violence at a time the British were busy with Irish paramilitaries and the Spanish with Basque separatists.

This was a factor that drove many Islamist groups to move their bases in Paris to London, where they were largely left alone by the police and the security service. It was believed this would make them easier to infiltrate and also that the jihadists would not blow up the country where they lived.

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"French aggression drove extremists out. Then one brought the war home ", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), mars 2012. Consulté le 21/09/2021. URL: http://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/archives/archives-revue-de-presse/french-aggression-drove-extremists-out-then-one-brought-the-war-home-