The head of France's counterespionage agency says the risk of a terrorist attack on French soil has "never been higher" and that "objectively, there are reasons for worry."
Bernard Squarcini says France's history as a colonial master in North Africa, its military presence in Afghanistan and a proposal that would ban full-covering face veils in public make the country a prime target for certain radical Islamist groups.
Speaking in an interview with Saturday's Journal du Dimanche newspaper, Squarcini says French authorities foil an average of two planned attacks per year, but "one day or another, we're going to get hit."
Squarcini says the threats come (FR) from radicalized French converts, the Al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the French Jihadists who fight in Afghanistan, Yemen or Somalia and might come back tomorrow to continue fighting in France.
Among the attacks the French managed to avert he mentions top French physicist Adlène Hicheur, who worked at CERN and offered his services to AQIM and a suicide bomber who planned to attack a fundraiser in Paris for the Israeli army. The man was recently arrested in Egypt.
Squarcini says there are 6 million Muslims in France, out of which only 300 pose problems, and that of the 1800 mosques, only about 30 are problematic.
Philosemitism blog updates that the man who planned the Paris attack is a Belgian citizen.