France Mourns After The Islamic State Claims Knife Attack

Police cars park outside the Marseille railway station, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. French police warn people to avoid Marseille's main train station amid reports of knife attack, assailant shot dead.

In the early part of Sunday afternoon, an Islamic State militant stabbed and killed two women at the Marseille train station in a probable terrorist attack.

Moments prior to the aggression, the suspect had shouted, “Allahu Akbar” (in Arabic means God is greatest). According to Reuters, the aggressor was shot to death by a military Sentinelle patrol, which is special force deployed as part of France’s ongoing state of emergency operations to curb terrorism.

The two women victims of this attack were ages 17 and 20. One was stabbed in the chest and the other had her throat slit.

The Marseille Mayor, Jean-Claude Gaudin, confirmed that suspect possessed several identities, per the Reuters report.

Recently-elected French President Emmanuel Macron said he is “deeply outraged by the barbarous knife attack that left two women dead.” In addition, Macron acknowledged the soldiers of Sentinel and the police officers reacted in a calm and efficient manner.

France has been in a state of emergency for almost two years. This all began in 2015 with the multiple attacks in the nation’s capital, Paris, that claimed the lives of 130 people. Moreover, in a separate attack, an armed gunman drove a truck into a crowd (killing 86) of people on Bastille Day in the city of Nice.

Macron’s campaign pledge was to end the two-year state of emergency but not before considering new legislative action. In a detailed report by The Guardian, Macron will introduce a counter-terrorism bill that grants exceptional emergency policing powers into permanent law. The bill is expected to be passed one month from now.

Prior to the incident, the Marseille suspect had been in custody and released two days before the attacks. The suspect had eight different identities or aliases.

Macron is facing many challenges during his quinquennial term. While in office, he will have to curb France’s high unemployment (9.5 percent), and at the same time remedy the growing opposition to his political efforts. A New York Times analysis declared Macron as another failed French president. The most recent poll has 40 percent of respondents satisfied with his performance.

Not only has his approval rating tanked, but his presidency is already being tested with less than one year in office. On September 16, thousands of protesters took to the streets strongly condemning new labor laws, code du travail, passed by Macron. The reform heavily favors the bargaining power of corporations and small businesses while eroding away France’s strict labor laws.

The demonstration led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a left-wing French politician, signaled a growing disdain for Macron’s presidency. France, like many other countries in Europe, continues to be battered by terrorist attacks with no end in sight and no comprehensive proposal to counteract them. Has Macron become a political flop? Early indicators do not seem to favor France’s youngest president.

[Featured Image by Claude Paris/AP Images]