“French anti-terrorism experts believe the two major attacks in Paris in 2015 were a “dress rehearsal” for more professional and better-organised terror attacks on a much larger scale in 2016.
The January 2015 attacks on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo – which had angered many by publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in 2006 – was the first in three days of attacks that claimed a total of 17 lives.
On November 13, gunmen in Paris killed 130 people in a series of coordinated attacks, the deadliest assault on French soil since World War II.
As bad as the carnage was, many experts agree that with the number of attacks on a definite upward swing, the threat will get much worse in the coming year.
“Unfortunately, I think 2015 was nothing,” an unnamed French senior counter-terrorism official told AFP last week. “We are moving towards a European 9/11: simultaneous attacks on the same day in several countries, several places. A very coordinated thing. We know the terrorists are working on this.”
The January and November attacks, for all the bloodshed they achieved, were worryingly “amateur”, according to Yves Trotignon, a former member of the French DGSE intelligence service.
“The November 13 attacks, from the terrorists’ point of view, involved a large number of tactical mistakes that they will learn from,” he told FRANCE 24. “For example, the death toll at the Bataclan [music venue, where 89 people were killed] was limited because the attackers ran out of ammunition.” …
According to Brisard, beyond improving domestic security, securing the borders of Europe’s Schengen free-travel zone should be European nations’ top priority.”