French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin has asked the U.S. government for greater intelligence sharing and warned of a resurgence in Islamic terrorist threats in Europe ahead of France hosting global sporting events in the coming year.
During a two-day trip to Washington and New York this week, the French minister asked for more efficient Franco-American counter-terrorism cooperation and claimed Islamic terrorism remains the biggest threat to national security in Europe.
“We have come to remind them that for Europeans and for France the primary risk is Sunni Islamist terrorism and that anti-terrorist collaboration between intelligence services is absolutely essential,” Darmanin said in an interview with Agence France-Presse.
“At a time when Americans may have a more national perspective in terms of challenges (today) — white supremacy, repeated shootings, conspiracies — they must not forget what appears to us to be the primary threat in Europe: Sunni terrorism,” he added.
Darmanin was speaking ahead of his country hosting the Rugby World Cup later this year and the Olympics next summer.
He claimed there is yet again a risk of “Islamist terrorism,” which would again target France and her European neighbors, describing “an endogenous threat from people without networks but who, becoming radicalized, take action in a few hours, in a few days (…) someone who takes a knife, goes into a bakery and kills people.”
France has been a frequent target for acts of terror, both from external threats and homegrown radicalized attackers facilitated by mass immigration from the Middle East, and the historically liberal visa requirements afforded to its Islam-dominated former colonies in North Africa.
The severity of Islamist-motivated terror attacks peaked halfway through the last decade when attackers targeted a concert at the Bataclan theater, murdering 137 and injuring at least 416 people in November 2015. This was followed by a Tunisian Islamist terrorist driving a 19-ton cargo truck down the promenade in the southern city of Nice in July 2016; he rammed through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day, killing 86 people and injuring 434 others.