Thursday, May 30, 2024

    Heightened Alert, Massive Police Presence

    France lowered its security level in January, but after the attack near Moscow, the highest alert level is now in effect. According to Prime Minister Attal, ISIS poses an acute threat to France as well. A red triangle with a black border containing the word “Vigipirate” – France’s counterterrorism logo – is displayed at schools, government buildings, churches, and museums. Previously, it read “risque attentat”, meaning “attack risk”. Starting today, the posters must be replaced in display cases with “urgence attentat”, signifying “emergency attack”. This decision was made by the French defense council late in the evening. President Emmanuel Macron convened the group on Sunday evening at the Elysée Palace to discuss the security situation in France following the devastating attack at the concert hall near Moscow.

    Highest Alert Level in Effect from October 2023 to January

    Prime Minister Gabriel Attal justified the declaration of the highest terror alert level on X by citing the ISIS claim of responsibility for the attack. This organization poses a threat to France and has recently been involved in several thwarted attack plots against Germany and France, according to Attal. He called for an early morning meeting with all security agencies affected by the heightened terror alert level. The highest terror alert level had been lowered in January. It had been in effect since the fatal knife attack on a teacher in Arras in October 2023. The assailant was radicalized in Islamist ideology and hailed from the Chechen Republic, which is part of Russia.

    Apart from the attack near Moscow, threats against French high schools have been making headlines for days. Educational institutions are being targeted through hacked internet accounts.

    Tense Situation Ahead of the Olympic Games

    Tier three of the terror alert system is the highest in France. It is limited to crisis management periods and indicates enhanced protection against a documented and imminent terrorist threat or immediately following a terrorist attack. Specifically, this entails heightened vigilance, providing information to the public, as well as extensive police presence and security checks in public spaces. Approximately four months ahead of the Olympic Games, France is on edge and is taking no chances.

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