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A daughter of Christian Medves kisses her father’s coffin during a ceremony for three victims of last week’s extremist gun rampage in Trebes, southern France, March 29, 2018 (AP photo by Fred Lancelot).

France’s Revamped Security Approach Struggles to Keep Up With Islamist Radicalization

Friday, March 30, 2018

PARIS—Last Friday, a gunman hijacked a car near the city of Carcassonne, in southwestern France, before shooting at national police officers finishing up a morning run. He then headed to the nearby town of Trebes, where he opened fire in a supermarket and held shoppers and employees hostage for several hours. By the time police arrived at the scene, three had died: two supermarket hostages and a passenger in the hijacked car. The following day, Arnaud Beltrame, a 44-year-old lieutenant colonel in the French police who used his body as a shield to protect one of the hostages, died of his injuries. Police killed the gunman, 25-year-old Redouane Lakdim, who had pledged allegiance to the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

The incident was the latest in what has become a new era of terrorism on French soil, and the second since President Emmanuel Macron took office. In October, a man stabbed two girls to death at a Marseille train station in what officials called “a likely terrorist attack.” As the details of Friday’s attack, for which the Islamic State claimed responsibility, trickled in, they seemed to accord with a familiar pattern. Lakdim, a Moroccan who earned French citizenship in 2004, had since 2014 been on the official “Fiche S” list, which includes some 26,000 individuals considered a potential threat to national security. Ten thousand of those individuals have apparently been radicalized, with the most dangerous monitored directly by the intelligence agency known by its acronym DGSI. ...

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