France is on alert. The authorities recently recorded over 100 anti-Semitic acts and more than 2,000 anti-Semitic statements on social networks. At the weekend, the Louvre in Paris and the Palace of Versailles had to be evacuated due to assassination threats.
Since the Middle East conflict and the fatal knife attack on a teacher in a school in Arras in northern France, fear and uncertainty have reigned in the country. France's Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin warned of attacks and described the atmosphere as an "atmosphere of jihadism."
The highest terror alert level was imposed in France on Friday. By Monday, 7,000 soldiers from the anti-terrorist unit “Sentinelle” are to be mobilized across the country and will remain in action until further notice. In addition, 580 locations considered sensitive, religious schools, religious associations and synagogues are to be increasingly monitored by around 10,000 police officers.
After threats, the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles with its adjacent park were evacuated on Saturday and reopened on Sunday.
The all-clear on Saturday evening
According to a Louvre spokeswoman, the museum had received a message indicating that there was danger to the museum and its visitors. Around 15,000 visitors had to leave the facility. Some Louvre visitors posted videos on X that showed people running out of the museum, some in panic.
According to information from the radio station "Europe 1", the threat against the castle was received anonymously on a police website. Up to 10,000 visitors were evacuated there. The central Paris train station, Gare de Lyon, was also evacuated on Saturday afternoon because of a suspicious package.
The government gave the all-clear on Saturday evening. Interior Minister Darmanin said that no explosive device was discovered at any of the two evacuated tourist attractions, and no attack took place. There are many calls with assassination threats, especially in schools.
On Friday, a young man who was targeted by the authorities as a radical Islamist stabbed a teacher and injured three other people in a high school in Arras, northern France. The 20-year-old was incapacitated by police with a Taser and arrested. In addition to the attacker, other people were arrested, including the perpetrator's older brother, who was also radicalized, a sister, his mother and an uncle.
As the newspaper "Le Parisien" reported with reference to the authorities, the attacker's older brother was arrested in 2019 for preparing an attack and sentenced to prison as a member of a terrorist organization.
Swastikas and calls for an intifada
France's Interior Minister Darmanin is now calling for the "systematic withdrawal of residence permits for foreigners, the systematic expulsion of all foreigners who are actually classified as dangerous by the secret services." At a press conference on Saturday evening, he also announced that he had received approval from President Emmanuel Macron to resume talks with the Russian authorities to expel Russian citizens registered in the S threat file to their country. The Arras attacker comes from Chechnya. He was born in the predominantly Muslim Russian republic of Ingushetia and came to France in 2008.
Darmanin further explained that more than a hundred anti-Semitic acts have been recorded since Hamas' bloody attack on Israel began on October 7th. These are essentially anti-Semitic graffiti such as swastikas and calls for an intifada against Israel. Darmanin also mentioned more serious acts, including people being arrested with knives at the entrance to a school or synagogue.
The attack in Arras took place almost three years to the day after the fatal attack on history teacher Samuel Paty. The 47-year-old was killed by an attacker in a Paris suburb on October 16, 2020 and then beheaded because he showed cartoons of Mohammed in class to illustrate freedom of expression.