France's anti-terrorist services overwhelmed by task at hand

By and

The terrorist attacks in Paris that have left at least 129 dead and hundreds wounded on Friday evening were committed by Islamists whose activities were apparently ignored by the French security services. Yet in the wake of the January attacks in Paris, French intelligence services were promised more financial and manpower resources, and this summer they were handed vast new intrusive surveillance powers. So just why is it that they appear to be overwhelmed by the jihadist threat? Michel Deléan and Louise Fessard report.

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In an interview published in Paris Match magazine on September 30th, French investigating magistrate Marc Trévidic, specialised over a period of ten years in investigations into terrorist crimes, warned: “I have acquired the certitude that the men of [Islamic State] have the intention and the means of hitting us very much harder by organizing large-scale actions, incomparable to those carried out until now. I say this as a technician: the darkest days are before us.”