Here’s a timeline of the deadliest terror attacks in France: from Charlie Hebdo to the Nice attack and beyond.
Coordinated Attacks: Charlie Hebdo & Kosher Supermarket Hostage-Taking
January 7, 2015 was marked by bloodshed at the headquarters of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris, which became the first in a series of deadly terrorist attacks on France. Two gunmen stormed the office, having opened fire on the staff, leaving 12 people dead. The attack was carried out as a response to the magazine’s publishing of a cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad, which is forbidden in Islam. The perpetrators, the Algerian-descended brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi, were eliminated in a police shootout two days later. According to the witnesses, they were shouting “Allahu akbar” (“God is Great” in Arabic) and “the Prophet is avenged.” The brothers were followers of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Following the attacks, millions rallied for free speech, honoring the victims of the massacre under the slogan “Je suis Charlie.”
November 2015 Attacks
A series of coordinated terrorist attacks in November 2015 in Paris became the deadliest in French history. Gunmen and suicide bombers carried out separate attacks at several sites, almost simultaneously: outside the ongoing France-Germany football match at the Stade de France stadium in the suburb of Saint-Denis; the Bataclan concert hall and Paris cafes, leaving a total of 130 people dead and some 368 injured. Daesh claimed responsibility for the attacks, explaining that they were retaliation for French airstrikes on terrorist targets in Syria and Iraq. The perpetrators were French and Belgian citizens who were registered as terrorism suspects.
Salah Abdeslam, the prime suspect in the terror attacks and the only surviving perpetrator, is currently awaiting trial over murder charges. The unidentified assailant, who took several people hostage in the suthern French town of Trèbes on March 23, 2018, has reportedly demanded the release of Abdeslam prior to the shooting.
In response to the attacks, the French government introduced a three-month state emergency, which remained in place for two years.
A truck driver rammed into crowds on the Promenade des Anglais during the Bastille Day celebrations in Nice on July 14, 2016. The attack, which Daesh claimed responsibility for, resulted in 86 deaths and 434 injuries. The perpetrator was identified as Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a Tunisian with French residency, was shot dead by police.
While French authorities said that he was inspired by Daesh, Lahouaiej-Bouhlel was “unknown” to security services, who failed to find evidence that the terrorist group had orchestrated the attack. Following the deadly incident, President Francois Hollande announced an extension of the state of emergency.
Three Days Before Election: Champs Elysees Attack
In April 2017, France was shattered once again when Karim Cheurfi, a French national and a known terror suspect, opened fire on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, killing a French National Police officer and wounding two others and a female tourist. The attacker was shot dead by police; the assault took place three days before the country’s 2017 presidential election. Daesh reportedly claimed responsibility for the shooting.
*Also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS, a terrorist group banned in Russia