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Paris attacks must intensify global war on terrorism

By Wang Hui (China Daily) Updated: 2015-11-18 07:50

No language can be strong enough to condemn Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris which killed 129 people and left at least 350 injured. As the rest of the world shares the grief of the French people, the international community should rally more closely to combat terrorism.

This is the second terrorist attack in Paris this year, following the one in the office of Charlie Hebdo magazine on Jan 7 that claimed the lives of 12 people. This is also the worst violence France has suffered since World War II.

China has joined the international community in condemning the brutal killings of innocent people by offering its deep condolences to the families of the victims, and thrown its weight behind French President Francois Hollande who has vowed to fight terrorists "without mercy".

As many feared, the Islamic State group which holds large swathes of land in Syria and Iraq has claimed responsibility for the attacks, according to an online statement distributed by its supporters on Saturday. This is outrageous: Despite the efforts of the international community to eliminate the IS, the terrorist group still has the ability to organize and carry out attacks beyond its areas of influence.

Given the magnitude of the group's brutality and its uncanny ability to strike at an unexpected time and unexpected place, the importance of security for countries which face a high potential risk of terrorist attacks can never be overstated. Home to a large number of Muslim immigrants, especially from North Africa, France is also a member of the US-led coalition which has been conducting air strikes against IS targets in Syria and Iraq since September last year.

Apart from retaliation, the IS group's motive behind such attacks is also to sow the seeds of fear among people and display its "strength" to its supporters. But it is doomed to failure because the lesson of blood can only strengthen righteous people who know showing mercy to terrorists is being cruel to humanity.

The terrorist attacks in Paris are a stark warning for France and other European Union countries to step up efforts to plug the security loopholes and hunt down every terrorist. After the Charlie Hebdo attack, media reports said about 1,100 French citizens had some link or the other with different "jihadi" groups, as outfits like the IS have been using underground networks and social media to disseminate their deadly ideology and recruit young members.

In recent months some people have warned that terrorists from outside might have entered Europe in the disguise of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa. If true, France will find it more difficult to eliminate potential risks.

The Paris attacks may leave Europe in a dilemma over how to deal with the ongoing refugee crisis. EU countries are already under huge pressure to provide shelter and food to the refugees, and the Paris attacks could weaken some countries' resolve to do so further and take in more refugees.

Poland has already demanded security guarantees before accepting its share of refugees under a European Union quota system, saying the carnage puts the EU's entire migrant policy in question.

The two terrorist attacks in Paris this year and the refugee crisis are a spillover from the turmoil in the Middle East, especially the Syrian crisis. The biggest lesson from the Paris attacks, therefore, lies in countries reaching a global consensus on and more closely cooperating with each other to root out terrorists, especially the IS group.

The international community should intensify its fight against the IS group and take more measures to cleanse the soil that breeds terrorists. And countries which are already involved in military operations against the IS group, the United States in particular, should work together with all forces willing to combat terrorism.

The author is a senior writer with China Daily.



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