Abu Yusuf, known to French police for radical Islamic activities, opened fire with a Kalashnikov in Paris Thursday, killing a police officer near a subway station and leaving two others gravely wounded.
Yusuf emerged from an Audi, witnesses told reporters, took out an automatic rifle and fired six shots at police before hiding behind a truck. When he fled, French police shot him dead. French President Francois Holland’s suspicions of a terrorism were confirmed when ISIS claimed one of their fighters was responsible. The killing of the officer was at least the sixth Islamic terrorist attack in Paris during the last three years.
Back in January of 2015, two Muslim brothers killed 11 people at the Charlie Hebdo magazine to avenge cartoons they perceived as mocking the prophet Muhammad. Doing his best to avoid the term “terrorism,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called the attack an example of “obscurantisme.” In early 2015 Muslim terrorists also attacked a kosher market in Paris, claiming 17 victims, including two police officers. Kerry’s boss, the 44th President of the United States, called it a “random” attack by “a bunch of violent, vicious zealots.”
In November 2015, Islamic terrorists attacked cafes, a stadium, and the sold-out 1500-seat Bataclan concert hall. There they fired Kalashnikovs into the audience, killing 89 and wounding nearly 100. All told, the attacks claimed 130 victims and prompted a state of emergency that still prevails, with good reason. As the New York Times reported, ISIS called the attack “the first of the storm” and denounced France as a “capital of prostitution and obscenity.”
In the aftermath of the Bataclan massacre, the worst atrocity in France since World War II, French president Francois Holland proclaimed: “We are going to lead a war which will be pitiless.” France “will be merciless toward the barbarians of Islamic State group” and “will act by all means anywhere, inside or outside the country.” France would make every effort to combat “the terrorist menace.”
In France and abroad, merciless actions against ISIS and their allies have been little in evidence, and the “storm” of terrorist attacks has continued. In February, Abdullah Reda Refaei al-Hamamy, a recent arrival from Egypt, shouted “Allahu Akhbar” as he launched a machete attack outside the Louvre. On March 18 at Orly airport, Ziyed Ben Belgacem held a gun on a female soldier and shouted “I am here to die in the name of Allah… There will be deaths.” Two soldiers then shot him dead.
On Tuesday, French police arrested two Muslims in Marseille in possession of firearms, bomb materials, along with Islamic state flags and jihadist propaganda. French interior ministry Matthias Fekl told reporters the two “radicalized men” were in the process of an “attack on French soil” and one had links to a Belgian terrorist cell.
Two days later, Abu Jusuf al-Beljiki (“the Belgian”) struck in Paris, killing a police officer and wounding two others. French officials said the shooter “deliberately targeted” police officers.
Meanwhile, jihadist attacks have killed 238 people in France since 2015 and militant Islam is a major issue. The Champs Elysee attack came days before the first round of presidential elections in France and occurred during a televised debate between 11 candidates.
Marine Le Pen of the Front National, always described as “far-Right,” threatened to shut French borders and even slap a temporary moratorium on legal immigration. Former economy minister Emmanuel Macron, supported by the former head of France’s anti-terror unit, warned that the terrorist threat would remain “for years to come.”
As Pierre-Henry Brandet of the interior ministry explained, “We are faced with a specifically high terrorist threat.”
“It looks like another terrorist attack,” said U.S. President Donald Trump, during a Washington press conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.
“It just never ends,” President Trump said. “We have to be strong and we have to be vigilant, and I’ve been saying it for a long time.”
During last year’s election campaign, candidate Trump said he would “bomb the shit out of ISIS.” Last week, the United States military dropped MOAB, the largest non-nuclear bomb in its arsenal, on an Islamic State complex in Afghanistan. President Trump has also attempted to curtail terrorist travel but federal judges have blocked two of his executive orders.