Dangerous Attacks in France Raise Security Concerns
France has come under a series of attacks in late December, spurring increased military presence throughout major towns and cities as well as statements from Prime Minister Manuel Valls to try to calm the growing fears of French citizens. There are concerns among the public and expressed by media organizations that the attacks, which have occurred in four different cities thus far, are tied to militants currently active in Syria and Iraq, according to The New York Times. There have been numerous injuries caused by the attacks, which have thus far taken the form of a knife attack at a police station and three different vehicles being driven into crowds in downtown areas. More than 20 people have been injured overall.
Officials discount terrorist link
Although public sentiment and some speculation in the media have pointed toward fundamentalist militants as the source of the attacks - bolstered by reports of one of the attackers shouting a common Islamic expression sometimes used as a battle cry - French authorities aren't yet sold on that theory, according to Time Magazine. The lack of any sort of ties to organizations connected to the Islamic State was mentioned by leaders, as was the disjointed nature of the incidents thus far. French President Francois Hollande said the timing of the incidents, more than anything else, led to the increased military presence in the country. Actions taken by some of the attackers, including self-harm at the scene of one attack, as well as previous diagnoses revealed by officials, have further led to a characterization of disturbed, isolated incidents and not a concentrated effort.
"The events are serious and worrying," Valls said on Europe 1 Radio, according to Businessweek. "Even if there's no link between them I can understand the concern of citizens."
An uncertain short-term future
The biggest problem thus far from a security perspective isn't the potential for organized violence, but the fact that these incidents are hard to predict and could inspire copycat efforts. For businesses, this means employees and assets in France will have to be given some extra attention in terms of risk analysis and identification for the foreseeable future. Companies that can understand the potential risks present in the country and take steps to inform and protect both people and physical assets will be in a much better position than those that can't.
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