France strengthens protection of Jewish communities in the face of ISIS threat

Following a threat from the Islamic State (ISIS) in  April, French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin strengthens the protection of Jewish communities in the country.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin has ordered increased protection of places frequently visited by Jewish communities, following an open threat from the Islamic State (ISIS).

On April 17 on Telegram, the jihadist terror group threatened to avenge the death of its former leader, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Qureiji, who was killed by US special forces in Syria in February. ISIS has been calling on its followers to take advantage of the Russia-Ukraine war to carry out new attacks in Europe.

The French Interior Minister said that “the terrorist organisation is targeting the Jewish community in particular in its message”, and therefore asked prefects and police and gendarmerie chiefs to “step up their vigilance and organise increased protection of the interests of the Jewish community in France”, especially in religious and cultural sites and educational institutions.

France has the largest Jewish community in Europe, with an estimated 600,000 members. The first victims of a series of Islamist attacks in France in the last decade were Jews: Mohamed Merah, an Algerian-French dual national, shot dead three French army soldiers in Toulouse and Montauban in the south of France on 11 and 15 March 2012, and on 19 March he shot dead two kindergarten and schoolchildren and a young rabbi outside the Ohr Torah Jewish school and kindergarten in Toulouse. On 21 March, the Islamist, who claimed to be a member of al-Qaeda, barricaded himself in his apartment and died in a shootout with commandos sent to his home.