Terroreksperter har lenge advart mot hva som vil skje når jihadistene vender hjem fra Syria. Det er vanskelig ikke å se fredagens angrep i en slik kontekst. Ingen andre europeiske land har avgitt så mange til kalifatet.
According to most estimates, France has lost more people to militant Islam than any other country in Europe: a report by the French senate in April concluded that at least 1,430 of the 3,000-plus known European jihadis who had then travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight for Isis were French.
The AFP news agency reported earlier this year that French intelligence services were monitoring another 1,570 people who authorities believed had some kind of connection to Syrian networks, while up to 7,000 more were considered at riskof heading down the same path.
More than 150 French radicals are currently serving prison sentences in France. But more alarming for the country’s hard-pressed security services is the fact that at least 200 French jihadis who have spent time in territory held by Isis are known to have since returned to the country.
Earlier this year a report by the King’s College’s International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence found that only Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Russia and Jordan had more of their own fighting with Isis than France; at that time there were more than twice as many French radicals as German and British fighters.
Despite a number of anti-radicalisation campaigns by the French authorities, the government has seemingly been unable to prevent considerable numbers of the country’s 4.7m-strong Muslim community – around 7.5% of the population – from veering towards violent radicalism and jihad.