The Deadliest Terror Attacks In France In The 21st Century

The National Assembly in France lit up in the colors of the French flag.
The National Assembly in France lit up in the colors of the French flag.

Terrorism seems to be an increasingly common occurrence throughout the world and France is no exception to this trend. This country has suffered a number of deadly and dangerous attacks throughout history. During the 20th century, for example, France reported approximately 64 attacks and the frequency is increasing. In just the first 16 years of the 21st century, this country has already registered 31 attacks, nearly half the number that occurred in the previous 100-year period. This article takes a closer look at the top 5 deadliest 21st century terror attacks in France.

November 2015 Paris Attacks (130 dead, 368 injured)

By far the deadliest terror attacks in 21st century France occurred in Paris on November 13, 2015. This tragedy involved several orchestrated events, beginning with 3 suicide bombers who set off explosives at 9:16 p.m. outside of the national stadium of France during a game. The terror continued with large-scale shootings, hostages, and an additional suicide bombing. Several of these took place at public locations like cafes and restaurants. The hostages were held after a shooting at an Eagles of Death Metal concert in the Bataclan Theater on Boulevard Voltaire, leading to a police raid. In total, 130 lives were lost and an additional 368 people were injured. These attacks are considered the worst since World War II.

July 2016 Nice Attack (86 dead, 434 injured)

A cargo truck driver intentionally steered his vehicle into crowds of participants during a Bastille Day celebration in Nice, France on July 14, 2016. This attack, for which ISIL claimed responsibility, resulted in 86 deaths and 434 injuries. It is considered the second deadliest 21st century attack in France. The following day the President extended the national state of emergency that had been declared after the November 15 Paris attacks (previously mentioned) and ruled to increase attacks against ISIL in the Middle East. The French government requested citizens to sign up for the military in response and on July 16, announced a national mourning period of 3 days.

January 2015 Ile-de-France Attack (17 dead, 22 injured)

Beginning on January 7, 2015, Paris and the larger Ile-de-France region found itself under terrorist attack. Over the course of 3 days, 5 mass shooting occurred; 4 of these resulted in 17 deaths. Twelve of these individuals were killed during the first shooting at the Charlie Hebdo newspaper offices. After the attacks ended on January 9, a total of 22 people had been injured. Police found and killed the 3 responsible individuals. The terrorist group Al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula announced that it had been planning this event for some time.

March 2012 Toulouse and Montauban Shootings (7 dead, 5 injured)

The 4th deadliest 21st-century terror attacks in France occurred between March 11 and 19, 2012 in the cities of Montauban and Toulouse. Only 1 shooter was involved; he acted by first killing a French military paratrooper on March 11. This attack was followed by a second shooting, which killed 2 soldiers on March 15. The final attack occurred on March 19 at a Jewish school, where 3 children and 1 adult were killed. The shooter reported the cause of his actions as twofold: in retaliation against the French military’s involvement against al-Qaeda in the 2001 War in Afghanistan and in retaliation against Jews for the attacks against Palestine.

December 2007 Capbreton Shooting (2 dead) and June 2016 Magnanville Stabbing (2 dead)

The 5th deadliest terror attack in 21st century France is held by two instances.

The first of these occurred in December of 2007 at the hands of members of the Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA, translates as Basque Homeland and Liberty), a Basque separatist rebel group. These individuals shot and killed 2 members of the Spanish Civil Guard in Capbreton, France.

The second of these events occurred on June 13, 2016, when a single attacker stabbed a police officer and his partner in their home. The man broadcasted a Facebook Live recording from the home during which he admitted to the murders and admitted his allegiance to the leader of the 2015 Paris attacks. Police raided the home, killing the attacker on the spot.


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