Risk of terrorist attack on French soil has "never been higher", French intelligence chief tells Le Journal du Dimanche.
A terrorist who planned to bomb an Israel Defense Forces fundraising event in Paris has been arrested in Egypt and extradited to France, the Le Journal du Dimanche reported late Saturday.
The report, which was relayed to the newspaper by French intelligence chief Bernard Squarcini, did not specify when the arrest took place nor did it elaborate on the details of the IDF event in question.
Speaking in an interview with the weekly newspaper, Squarcini said French authorities foil an average of two planned attacks per year, but "one day or another, we're going to get hit."
He said the risk of a terrorist attack on French soil has "never been higher" and that "objectively, there are reasons for worry."
The intelligence chief added that France's history as a colonial master in North Africa, its military presence in Afghanistan and a proposal that would ban full-covering face veils in public make the country a prime target for certain radical Islamist groups.
The risk now was as high as in 1995 before of deadly attacks on the Paris Metro by Algerian Islamic extremists, Squarcini told Le Journal.
Squarcini said the threat is threefold, coming from Al-Qaida's North African affiliate - an Algerian insurgent group that allied itself with the international terror network several years ago and has targeted French interest in the region in the past - radical French converts to Islam and French nationals who have trained with extremist groups in Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia.
"All [such] scenarios are possible," Squarcini said.
He added that before the 1995 bombings on the Paris subway, which killed eight people and wounded hundreds, the risk came solely from insurgent groups from France's former colony, Algeria. One such group, the Armed Islamic Group, claimed responsibility for the 1995 attacks.
Next week, the Senate, the upper house of the French parliament, will vote on a bill that would ban the wearing of burqas or niqabs, fully covering Islamic veils, in public places in France.
The proposal, which was overwhelmingly approved in the lower house of parliament in July, drew the indignation of the No.2 of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahri, who said the drive to ban the veil amounted to discrimination against Muslim women.
France's terror alert level remains at red, the second-highest rank out of four.
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