French intelligence have thwarted a terror attack directed at Paris that they said would have been similar in size and scope to the 9/11 terror attacks in the US that knocked down the North and South towers and crashed a plane into the Pentagon, the French newspaper Le Parisien reports.
A suspect is currently being held in France on preliminary terrorism charges after apparently planning a 9/11-style attack that would have involved several plane hijackings and dozens – if not hundreds – of deaths.
French intelligence must be particularly vigilant since their city encompasses many of Europe’s most recognizable monuments and statues, as well as other major tourist attractions and monuments. In recent years, terror attacks within the city have claimed more than 200 lives.
Just this month, an IT worker who worked with the Paris Intelligence Squad, a special unit within the Paris police, was shot and killed after he attacked several colleagues with a knife at work. The 45-year-old attacker was widely considered to be a responsible and dedicated employee and, thanks to his IT skills, was seen as a critical member of the team, with close access to the bosses.
The attacker managed to evade several mandatory background checks (all with the help of supervisors who promoted and protected him) after cracking jokes about anti-black and anti-muslim bias in a meeting with superiors, who waved checks that would have easily exposed the attacker’s checkered history with domestic violence and his many trips to hotbeds of Islamic fundamentalism.
In his role as an IT director for the Paris intelligence squad, he would have advanced knowledge of police operations against terror suspects, or of any investigations into his own activities.
Circling back to the most recent terror arrest, the suspect being held in France on preliminary terrorism charges apparently joined a 9/11-style hijacking ring. It doesn’t appear that their plot was very far along, since the would-be attacker was searching for a weapon when he was apprehended.
Many of the details were first revealed by French Interior Minister Christopher Castaner. He also revealed that this is the 60th time since 2013 that a terror plot has been foiled by French intelligence.
Un soixantième attentat a été déjoué en France depuis 2013, annonce @CCastaner en direct dans #VALP. Le ministre de l’Intérieur révèle que l’individu interpellé projetait une attaque inspirée du 11 septembre 2001 pic.twitter.com/8HDp4cMW4T
— Vous avez la parole (@VALP) October 17, 2019
During this period, the most successful attack was the shooting at the Bataclan theater, which claimed the lives of more than 130 victims including (eventually) the lives of all three attackers.