Attack in Paris: an enemy from within

A long-time employee at the police headquarters in Paris killed four colleagues on Thursday before he was shot and killed by a police officer. The murderer had become radicalised since converting to Islam ten years ago, according to investigators. He had been in contact with Salafists but continued to work as an IT specialist in the police's counter-terrorism division. Commentators are dumbfounded.

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Le Figaro (FR) /

The French suffer from a dangerous illness

Alexis Brézet, editor-in-chief of Le Figaro, explains how the officer was able to work in the intelligence and counter-terrorism division despite his radicalisation:

“If we know nothing of what was being plotted in the Paris police headquarters it's because we didn't want to see it! And if we didn't want to see it, it's because we in France are all victims of a strange illness: a sort of imbecility that must be called by its name if we want to combat it: the denial of Islamism. ... The denial of Islamism poses a major threat to the French. ... At a time when we should be doing our utmost, it is paralysing the fight against Islamist infiltration in our democracies.”

Adevărul (RO) /

Attacker had access to valuable information

Adevărul is also appalled that the attacker had access to so much sensitive information through his job:

“The police headquarters is home to entire libraries of data on terrorist movements, with key information on their contacts, addresses, networks of alleged supporters, contacts of sympathisers in various areas and much more. What's more, it also contains all data related to police officers (including those working undercover), those involved in counter-terrorism operations, along with their addresses, the telephone numbers of their families and friends who can be contacted in an emergency. ... A huge amount of specialised information, a veritable treasure trove which the murderer watched over as a trusted guard. The question now is: how much of it was he able to communicate to his network?”

Die Welt (DE) /

Be clear about motives

Die Welt criticises the politicians' and the media's hesitancy to mention the Islamic background to the attack:

“In fact the Muslims are the ones that are worst affected by this holding back of information. Precisely because militant Islamists can't be equated with Muslims in general, you can't blame the latter for the attacks of the former. ... One of the basic goals of attacks like the one in Paris is to unite the majority of the population against Muslims in the hope that the resulting hatred will drive Muslims into the arms of the Islamists. If it works, it will help not only the Muslim fundamentalists but also far-right would-be Christians. Both of these enemies of open society can be better fought if we speak more clearly and more fearlessly.”