All eyes are on France leading up to the nation’s presidential election, and the stakes just became more clear in the early voting as police announced they have thwarted another Islamic terror attack.
Time Magazine reports that terrorism is a huge election issue. Choices in the early voting may foretell if there is a worldwide movement toward populism, after the British Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s election in America:
The presidential election is being watched as a bellwether for global populist sentiment, in large part because of Le Pen’s nationalist, anti-immigration positions.
In a written statement Tuesday, Le Pen pointed to “a devastating multiplication of attacks and threats of attacks” in France which she said was the result of “Islamic fundamentalism” that “has expanded exponentially” in the last decade in the country.
Indeed, terror attacks in France have stepped up since 2015, leaving a trail of bodies from downtown Paris to Nice.
January 2015, Charlie Hebdo, 12 DeadBertrand Guay/Getty Images
The newsroom at the satirical Charlie Hebdo Magazine became a shooting gallery as two Islamic terrorists stormed the offices in Paris and murdered 12 people, including the cartoonists who dared to draw Muhammad.
January 2015, Jewish Market, 5 DeadEric Feferberg/Getty Images
The day after the Charlie Hebdo attack, a policewoman was assassinated and four people were executed in a terror attack and hostage-taking at a Jewish market.
April 2015, Paris, Woman’s Body Found in Burning Car, Church PlotKenzo Tribouillard/Getty Images
The BBC reports that an Algerian man was plotting attacks on this church and others and accidentally shot himself. His terror connections were discovered when he called for medical help. He was charged with terrorism and for the murder of a woman whose body was found in a burning car.
June 2015, Fontaine-sur-Saone, Man DecapitatedJean-Philippe Ksiazek/Getty Images
Businessman Herve Cornara was decapitated by an employee and then the killer tried to blow up the gas factory where they worked. AFP reports that the attack was part of an ISIS-related plot.
November 2015, Paris, Le Bataclan, 90 DeadDavid Wolff/Getty Images
Just weeks after three American passengers on a high-speed train to Paris stopped an attack by men with a gun and box cutters, gunmen and suicide bombers hit multiple targets in Paris. One of the venues was the Bataclan Theater, where the American band Eagles of Death Metal were performing.
Ninety deaths were attributed to that attack. As the BBC reported, concert goers were mowed down by Kalashnikov rifle-wielding terrorists. Members of the band came back to perform again the next month.
November 2015, Paris, Soccer Stadium, Bars & Cafes, 41 DeadChristopher Furlong/Getty Images
Other, nearly simultaneous attacks occurred at a major stadium and cafes nearby. The Daily Mail reported that, all told, 41 others were killed in those attacks.
June 2016, Magnanville, Police Officer & Partner MurderedDominque Faget/Getty Images
The BBC reported that a French police commander and his partner were stabbed to death at his home by a terrorist who claimed ties to ISIS. Their three-year-old child was spared by the man, whom the AFP reported had been previously convicted of terrorism.
July, Nice, 86 DeadValery Hache/Getty Images
The horrendous Bastille Day attack in Nice resulted in 86 people killed and at least 400 others injured by a jihadist driving a nine-ton truck. As the BBC reported, the driver “ploughed on for 1.2 miles on the Promenade des Anglais at about 23:00 local time, before being shot dead by police.”
July 2016, Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Priest Slain While Leading MassCharly Triballeau/Getty Images
Independent Journal Review described the attack on Father Jacques Hamel, as ISIS-affiliated jihadists who “burst into the church” and slit the throat of the 84-year-old priest. Then the jihadists began preaching to parishioners in Arabic before taking hostages.
There have been several other attacks in France, but those that did not result in deaths were not listed here— though they are just as important to form the picture of how much the terror attacks have stepped up there.
In all, Time Magazine reports that France has set European records in terror deaths, with 235 people lost to terrorism and hundreds more wounded:
Those on the right have been particularly vocal, seeking to appeal to voters traumatized by IS-inspired attacks that have killed at least 235 people in France since January 2015, by far the largest casualty rate of any Western country.
The terrorism issue is front and center in the coming presidential election — especially at the polling places.
More than 50,000 soldiers and police reportedly will be used to guard French voters as they go to the polls for the nation’s second and final round of voting on May 7.