Monday 16 October 2023

France Mobilizes 7,000 Troops Following Stabbing Described As ‘Barbaric Islamist Terrorism’

 France has mobilized up to 7,000 soldiers to increase security in the country following a stabbing at a high school last week in which the suspect allegedly shouted “Allahu akbar!” during the attack.  

On Friday, a suspect in his 20s who was known to authorities as a security risk went on a stabbing spree at Gambetta High School in Arras, France, killing one teacher and wounding two staff members, according to officials. President Emmanuel Macron described the attack as a case of “barbaric Islamist terrorism.”

A Saturday statement from the Elysée Palace said that Macron ordered “up to 7,000 soldiers from the Sentinelle force, who will be deployed between now and Monday evening and until further notice.” 

France increased its security posture to an “emergency attack” level following the stabbing, which allowed Macron to temporarily mobilize his country’s military for the protection of public spaces, ABC News reported

The suspect, Mohammed Mogouchkov, has been arrested along with several others. He was under “active monitoring” and had been stopped and searched as recently as last week, according to Euronews. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said that he was released at the time because investigators did not discover evidence of him preparing an attack. The suspect was reportedly a former student. Counterterrorism authorities are investigating the stabbing.

Macron called for France to “stand together” against “Islamic terrorism” and said, “The choice is made not to give in to terror, not to let anything divide us.”


The stabbing occurred on the day a former head of Hamas urged Muslims worldwide to hold a “day of rage.” According to French intelligence, there was a link between the attack and the ongoing war between Hamas and Israel. 

Another arrest occurred on Friday after a 24-year-old man reportedly known to be “radicalized” was detained leaving a mosque on the outskirts of Paris while carrying a knife, Euronews reports. 

On Saturday, after Macron’s troop mobilization announcement, the Palace of Versailles and the Louvre Museum in Paris were evacuated following anonymous bomb threats sent to police in Paris. Gare de Lyon, one of the country’s largest train stations, was also evacuated after a potential bottle explosive was discovered, according to the Associated Press. 

Pro-Palestinian demonstrations were banned in France on Thursday following calls for a “day of rage,” but hundreds of protestors demonstrated later that day in defiance of the ban. “Pro-Palestinian demonstrations must be prohibited because they are likely to generate disturbances to the public order,” Darmanin said, adding that foreigners who commit anti-Semitic acts would be “immediately expelled.”

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