Days after the attempted massacre on a French train was foiled by passengers, President Francois Hollande has warned France should prepare for further terror attacks.
Speaking to diplomats at the Élysée Palace in Paris yesterday Hollande said: “We are always exposed and Friday’s aggression on the Thalys Amsterdam-Paris train could have resulted in monstrous carnage without the courage of several passengers…
“This attack is fresh proof that we must prepare for other attacks and therefore protect ourselves.”
Three Americans (pictured above) and one Britain who overpowered the gunman have already been awarded medals for their bravery. The BBC reports that a US-born Frenchman, Mark Magoolian, and a further as yet unnamed Frenchman will also be given awards for their role in thwarting the terror attack.
French law afforded authorities four days in which to question Ayoub El Khazzani, the 25-year-old gunman. The deadline passed last night and it has been announced prosecutors have filed formal charges for what they are calling a “targeted and premeditated” jihadist attack. The Moroccan-born terrorist is also accused of firearms offences and “participation in a terrorist association with a view to organising one or several damaging crimes.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that the failed attack has sparked debate over French rail security in particular and across Europe in general.
No systematic searches are carried out on trains crossing borders within the ‘Schengen Area’ – 26 European countries that have abolished passport and border controls at their common borders.
Khazzani boarded the high-speed train in Brussels, Belgium, carrying his Kalashnikov rifle, Luger pistol, ammunition and box-cutter. The attempted attack then occurred in France. Both countries are in the Schengen Area and there were no border checks.
Hollande also said France must protect itself domestically by taking action abroad, stemming the flow of Islamist fighters returning to Europe from fighting in Iraq and Syria. He said French support for Syrian opposition to Bashar al-Assad and participation in the coalition fighting extremists in Iraq will also continue.
On another front, Hollande said France may hold a meeting with African countries to coordinate international efforts agains Boko Haram, a terror group that has killed 10,000 people this year alone.
Despite Hollande’s latest warning that the country is “facing a terrorism that has never before reached this level of barbarity” France had already been on high alert since the Islamist attacks in Paris in January left 17 dead.
As Breitbart London previously reported, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned in June that another attack was inevitable. He said then it was not a question of “if there will be another attack, but when.”
Europe as a whole has been on high alert for “lone wolf” terror attacks by Islamic State (IS) supporters for several months. IS urges its followers to strike wherever they can.