There is only one nation in this world that is unshakably sure of itself, its history and its civilizational uniqueness, and that is the nation of France. The recent terrorist attacks on Paris, that took place on 13th November, 2015, have completely tested France’s sense of national fortitude.
The first attack took place at the Stade de France packed with some 85,000 people enjoying the friendly match between France and Germany. Loud explosions reverberated when two terrorists attacked and detonated their suicide explosive belts at the entrance gates. Francois Hollande, the President of France, was himself in the stadium during the time of the explosions. Minutes after the explosions, a spree of restaurant shootings began around 4-5 miles away from the stadium where few terrorists, armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles, were firing at the diners sitting at the terraces of Le Carillon Bar and the Petit Cambodge Restaurant. Another bar going by the name of Belle Equipe Bar, which was packed to capacity, was attacked by the brutal firings. Finally, the most barbaric attack took place in the Bataclan concert hall, where around 1,500 people were witnessing a rock concert show of the band ‘Eagles of Death Metal’. Four gunmen wearing suicide vests and armed with AK-47 rifles stormed inside the hall and opened fire on the crowd, killing more than 80 people. The people who witnessed the barbarism inside the concert hall and survived, told the authorities that the terrorists came in shouting “Allahu Akbar” and also screamed out that this attack was in retaliation to the air strikes that France had been carrying out in Syria and it was the fault of Mr. Francois Hollande, the President of France.
As soon as the President was safely taken away from the stadium, he immediately declared a national emergency, the first of its kind since 2005, when riots broke out in the country. He even announced the renewal of all the border checks along the frontiers which usually remain open for Europe’s free travel zone. He said that this is an ‘act of war’ and France would ruthlessly respond to it. The President clearly announced France’s “pitiless” retribution against the people behind the attacks. The attack is also a matter of grave concern for Europe as it is, presently, the home to a large influx of refugees from various parts across the globe.
The very next day of the attack, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attacks as they categorically mentioned that these were the blessed attacks and the Paris attack is the very first of the storm lying ahead. The video shows a bearded man who urges all the Muslims in Europe to come to Syria to become Jihads so that they can stop the torturing that the Muslims might receive in future. They even hinted on attacking the United States of America, thus clearly showing their intentions of demolishing the West.
The attacks left the city in a tragic shock, raising several questions on the security protocols and the intelligence inputs as according to the authorities, these attacks were decourously planned and were executed with internal aid and assistance. The city immediately witnessed heavy patrolling by the national army and all the public demonstrations were stopped as there was no military personnel to provide security to the people.
Even the Eifel Tower, which witnesses colossal tourists all round the year, was closed to public indefinitely as a direct consequence of these attacks and as a stringent precautionary measure. The lights of the tower were turned off following the attack on the civilians, though it was later covered with blue, red and white lights depicting France’s flag as a tribute to all those people who lost their lives during this horrific attack.
The saddest part is that these attacks are being conducted in the name of Islam, which professes a very contrary view to that being portrayed in these recent attacks. It is thus that other Muslims have to pay the price for the wrong deeds of the Islamic terrorists, who show themselves as Jihadists. Similar ire was witnessed after the Paris attacks which increased the Islamophobic retaliation, when a mosque was burnt in Canada. Few other mosques in different parts also received threat calls, creating a fear among the communities of the Muslims, especially the women and children who are afraid to walk outside of their homes.
Several raids were being conducted in different parts of the country to arrest the suspects behind this horrific attack. Out of the 8 terrorists, 7 were killed during suicide bombings and 1 was killed in a crossfire with the French police. The terrorists hailed from various countries including Syria, Egypt, Belgium, France, etc. In around 170 raids, around 25 suspects were arrested. The French President also confirmed that these attacks were planned in Syria, organised in Belgium and were perpetrated on their soil with French complicity. According to the authorities, the attacks were probably ordered by a Belgian living in Syria and carried out by a group led by Belgium based French nationals with an accomplice who may have used a refugee route via Greece. The name of the prime suspect is said to be Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who is now rumored to have been killed as a part of the response attacks.
In a ruthless response to the attacks, the French fighter jets have been carrying out heavy airstrikes on the ISIS occupied areas. It was reported that there were approximately 30 explosions heard in the Raqqa city, which is used as a de facto capital of its self-declared caliphate by the ISIS. After few days of the attack in Paris, the French Defence Ministry stated that the French fighter jets have dropped 20 bombs on Syria targeting the Islamic State, the ultra-hard-line group which has claimed responsibility for attacks in Paris that killed more than 130 people.
According to an Anti-Islamic State activist group, two camps in Raqqa, namely “Division 17” and “Avant-Garde camp” were hit by the French airstrikes causing severe damages and destruction to some of the ISIS’s makings.
The international community has strongly condemned the attack and has decided to join hands to eradicate terrorism from its grass root level. More emphasis was laid down on the same when the G-20 summit took place in Turkey. Barack Obama, The U.S. President, along with Vladimir Putin, the Russian President have decided to unite and demolish ISIS. The people of France have shown utmost courage in tackling the situation. They kept on reminding each other that France, unlike Afghanistan or Syria, is not in a state of war and this shall pass. Their trust and determination was aimed at pulling back the reins of the scenario to a certain bit of normality in these outrageous times.
Though the security on the borders, airports, stations has been tightened, the country hopes to take all guns blazing against the perpetrators of this horrific attack. The President’s Office has clarified that France will do everything under the control to make an effective response to these attacks, but at the same time, would also ensure that it is not lacking behind in thrashing the ISIS in any way.
This also throws light on the need and cry for the ending of hypocrisy on the part of the global stakeholders who are behind the growth of such terrorist organizations in the first place. Unless and until the vested interests would come in the way of global peace, there is no point in being united and fight against terrorism. Our heartiest condolences to all the victims of the attack and their families…vive la France!
Featured Photo Courtesy: thedailybeast.com