By Menan Khater, Nourhan Fahmy and Ahmed Abbas
In the wake of the attacks in Paris on Friday and “Islamic State” (IS) claiming responsibility for the attacks, French citizens are grounded for a state of emergency and security analysts agreed that Paris needs further investment in security.
However, the locations of the attacks were carefully assessed to simultaneously target locations that are not notoriously restive, according to many citizens’ opinions. The targets were public, populous spaces of street cafes, stadiums, and a theatre. Daily News Egypt spoke to local and Paris-based analysts to review the security situation.
“It is very difficult to prevent this from happening; the police in Paris are very diverse and working very efficiently but you have a lot of weak points, like cafes and restaurants that you cannot completely protect,” Gespard Estrada, a political analyst at the Paris Institute of Political Studies in Paris said.
“We saw that enforcing laws are useful but this is not enough, we already have a command of enforced law and it did not prevent this from happening,” he added.
France must make a choice to enforce stricter laws and to invest more in security, including intelligence and other security measures. “Today we can see that our infrastructure is not protected,” Estrada said.
Ali Bakr, a political researcher at Al-Ahram Centre for Strategic Studies, specialised in Islamist movements, commented on the IS affiliated statement which followed the attack: “We have no other alternatives but to believe that IS was behind the attack. The group uses and recruits local citizens to help them in the logistics of performing such operations; it is a surprising yet long-planned act.”
According to Bakr, there has been a prevailing impression of tightened security measures, but what happened proved otherwise.
Since the Charlie Hebdo attacks, several potential attacks were foiled by security forces, including one on a high-speed train with passengers travelling from Belgium to France in August. With border controls in place, Paris is now on highest alert. An upcoming global conference on climate change nonetheless remains scheduled to take place in Paris from 30 November to 11 December.
Following the attacks, French President Francois Hollande announced an emergency state across the country. The French constitution allows emergency states for only 12 hours and an extension would require parliamentary approval.
The emergency state in France, according to the constitution, mandates security men to stop pedestrians or perform domestic inspection without prior judicial permission, as well as allowing arrests and shutting down public spaces.
According to local TV station France 24, France has taken unprecedented security measures in response to the attacks in over 50 years since the Algerian war.
During Hollande’s brief, he announced the closure of France’s borders, spreading military personnel across the city, and launching attacks on certain locations without disclosing the exact whereabouts.
France has also denied future entry for non-European citizens to France, even those with a Schengen visa.
New amendments were made to the terrorism law following the Charlie Hebdo attack in January. Local newspaper Lemonde quoted French deputy Minister of Interior as saying that “despite the recent security measures, we have not reached the point of zero risk and the laws still needs time to be effective”.