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Terror Threat Remains as France Marks Second Anniversary of Paris Attacks

Terror Threat Remains as France Marks Second Anniversary of Paris Attacks

Tuesday, 14 November, 2017 - 10:15
French President Emmanuel Macron led commemorations in honor of the victims of the 2015 Paris terror attacks. (AFP)

French President Emmanuel Macron kicked off on Monday a series of commemorations in honor of the victims of the November 13, 2015 attacks in Paris that left 130 people dead at the hands of ISIS terrorists.

Two years later, France was still on high alert against terror attacks.

Flowers were laid and victims names read out at otherwise silent homage ceremonies in the presence of Macron at the six sites struck in the 2015 attacks.

Outside the Stade de France national stadium, Macron and the mayor of the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis placed a wreath of red, white and blue flowers to honor the Portuguese immigrant killed by a suicide bomber, the first victim of the night's violence.

The commemorations continued at Paris cafes, where city officials read out the names of the 29 people gunned down while dining and enjoying the balmy night.

Dozens of families and Parisians gathered outside the Bataclan concert hall, where the attacks took their most chilling turn as extremists opened fire on a dancing crowd and held hundreds hostage in an hours-long standoff with police. Ninety people were killed.

Many rescuers and people injured in the attacks, some with crutches, others in wheelchairs, also attended the ceremony.

After the commemoration, Parisians and tourists took their turn to pause near the memorial plaque with the names of victims. Many were crying.

Macron, whose government has implemented legislation giving police and intelligence agents wider wiretap, search and arrest powers in an attempt to avert more attacks, was accompanied by other politicians including Francois Hollande, president at the time of the Paris attacks.

“The threat level remains high,” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told public radio station France Inter.

Some 7,000 troops remain on the streets under an anti-terror operation known as Sentinelle, carrying out patrols and guarding vulnerable sites such as tourist hotspots.

The government says 30 planned attacks have been thwarted in the past two years. Police and intelligence services are working flat-out to cope with the challenge of religious radicalization and further attacks.

More than 240 people have died in the past three years in attacks commissioned or inspired by ISIS, which has urged followers to attack France and other countries involved in military efforts to oust it from swathes of Syria and Iraq.

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